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Cong hits back at Mulayam, asks him to decide on sides

Congress on Thursday hit back at SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for accusing it of being "cheat and clever".

New Delhi: Congress on Thursday hit back at SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for accusing it of being "cheat and clever" as it reminded him that he had shared the dais with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the UPA`s report was released last year.

It asked Yadav, whose party is supporting government from outside, to decide whether he was with secular or communal forces as it questioned his praise for BJP veteran LK Advani.

"We do not want to comment on the remarks of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He, himself, can explain it best. But only a few months back, Yadav shared the dais with the Prime Minister when the UPA`s report card on its three-year performance was released (last May).

"Now all of a sudden, he is criticising Congress and its leadership and appreciating L K Advani and the NDA, whereas the fact is Advani and other BJP leaders had a role in the demolition of Babri Masjid and the communal riots at Ahmedabad and Godhra that took place during NDA rule," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told a news agency.

He was responding to Yadav`s comment in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, that Congress was "cheat and clever" and took people for a ride.

Union Minister Manish Tewari also targeted the chief of Samajwadi Party, whose 22 MPs in Lok Sabha are crucial for government.

"As far as Mulayam Singh Yadav is concerned, we respect all our allies. He also knows in his mind that the basic polarisation in this country is communal versus secular forces. He will also have to decide which side he is on," Tewari told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He also dismissed Yadav`s idea of a Third Front as the "most enduring mirage" and expressed hope that the Samajwadi Party, which has extended "very constructive support" to the UPA government, will continue that and "the atmosphere of harmony will prevail."

Yadav had said recently that coalition politics has come to stay in the country and asked like-minded parties to come together.