Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, Feb. 15. — The Congress today questioned a “secret meeting” between the Israel Ambassador to India, Mr David Daniele, and the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, a couple of days ago at the CM’s Lucknow residence, asking Mr Yadav to “come clean about his position and agenda during this interaction”.
Stating that the Congress does not have problems with such meetings in a democratic country, the AICC spokesperson, Mrs Jayanti Natarajan, however, said: “Mr Yadav should disclose his talks with the Israeli envoy so that his stand on his proposed no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on the Iran issue and his championing of the minority cause becomes clearer to the people”.
In the same breath, Mrs Natarajan said Mr Yadav’s meeting with the Israeli envoy was the latest in a series of such “secret meetings” at the CM’s Lucknow residence, which included the RSS chief, Mr KS Sudarshan’s visit in the backdrop of the communal riots at Mhow.
Taking a swipe at the Samajwadi Party chief for his pro-minority and socialist politics claims, the Congress said, “Mr Yadav’s actions, however, seem to be against the interest of the nation and minorities.” ‘
Asked whether the CM’s meeting with the Israeli envoy was tantamount to compromising Mr Yadav’s stand in support of Iran as well as the minority cause, Mrs Natarajan said, “we are not saying that, we just want Mr Yadav to clarify his real agenda behind these secret meetings.”
Facing a barrage of questions on the issue, Mrs Natarajan said, “we are not casting any suspicion on the Israeli envoy, our ties are friendly with Israel, but we just want Mr Yadav to explain his position vis-a-vis his meeting with the envoy”.
Asked whether the Congress really thought the Mulayam-Daniele meet so sensitive and if there was any perceived threat to the government’s stability and whether the party would seek an explanation from or recall of the Israeli envoy, Mrs Natarajan said, “there is no danger to the government and we would not ask the Israeli envoy about the issue.”
Even the American Ambassador to India, Mr David Mulford, was said to have called on Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav at his Lucknow residence a few weeks ago. Mrs Natarajan parried the question on why the Congress chose to gloss over the Mulayam-Mulford interaction.
The Congress has not missed any opportunity to mount a blistering attack on the SP and its leaders, Mr Yadav and Mr Amar Singh. By raking up Israel and Sudarshan, the Congress sought to embarrass Mr Yadav over his publicly-expressed commitment to Iran and minority issues.
The Congress has traditionally backed Palestinians in their struggle with Israel, although the Narasimha Rao government had established full diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv in the early 1990s.