Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has admitted to secret meetings with Sonia Gandhi to discuss candidates for the President’s post. In an exclusive interview to Teekhi Baat on IBN7, Mulayam claimed that he was the first political leader to propose the name of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the President almost one month ago during a meeting with Sonia and added that no deal was struck with the Congress in lieu of supporting its presidential nominee.
Below is a translated and edited excerpt of the interview:
Prabhu Chawla: ON Wednesday evening you announced the three names and then at night you met Sonia Gandhi? And then probably on Thursday you had a meeting with her again?
Mulayam Singh Yadav: Yes, and she said that you had taken Pranab's name earlier.
Prabhu Chawla: That means you met Sonia Gandhi earlier?
Mulayam Singh Yadav: Yes I met her, and when we met on Thursday Pranab's name came up and she said that you were one of the first ones to suggest his name.
Prabhu Chawla: So Sonia said that you had suggested Pranab's name that is why she decided on his name?
Mulayam Singh Yadav: No. Then AK Antony came to meet me. Ahmed Patel also met me.
Prabhu Chawla: You met them after you met Sonia?
Mulayam Singh Yadav: No. Sonia I met after meeting them.
Prabhu Chawla: Who was with Sonia? Who all were with Sonia? None of the journalists found out?
Mulayam Singh Yadav: We were alone. We did not had to inform the journalists. Journalists did not come to know.
Prabhu Chawla: All cameras were there. Still no one found out. You would have gone through some other gate.
Mulayam Singh Yadav: Whichever gate I went through, we did meet.
He said that he first met Sonia late on Wednesday night after the joint press conference with Mamata, which stunned the Congress-led UPA.
The deal was clinched after second meeting with Sonia on Thursday with Mulayam claiming that the Samajwadi Party was not bargaining for the Vice-President’s post.