The war of words between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party intensified on Tuesday, with SP General Secretary Amar Singh saying All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijay Singh should be held responsible, if the alliance between the two parties breaks.
Singh stated that his party helped the Congress at 'times of difficulty' and instead of being thankful, their party leaders were giving irresponsible statements.
His comments came after Digvijay remarked that the Congress has not approached the SP with a begging bowl on seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh.
"If there is any rift between the Congress and the SP, then Digvijay Singh will be responsible for the severed ties. I did not say he is a beggar nor am I," Amar Singh said.
In an apparent reference to the SP's support to the United Progressive Alliance during the trust vote in July last year, the SP leader said, "When the Left took back their support to the Congress, at that time of difficulty, we helped them."
"Instead of being thankful to us, they are giving such irresponsible statements everyday," Amar Singh said.
Singh added that the SP will not give more than 15 seats to Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state.
"We have decided to give 15 seats to Congress in UP. Our leader Ramgopal Yadav has already written a letter in this regard to Digvijay Singh (Congress party in-charge for UP)," Singh said.
He indicated that there is still room for further negotiations. Asked if an alternate arrangement was possible, Singh said, "Everything can happen among (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and (SP chief) Mulayam Singh Yadav. But when the matter is between Amar Singh and Digvijay Singh, the number of seats (being offered to Congress) cannot increase from 15 to even 16."
Singh quipped that he would not comment on Congress leaders any more and the follow the principle -- 'silence is golden'.
He also said that the SP's doors are always open for an alliance with the Congress.
When asked whether the possibility of an alliance with the Congress still remained, he noted philosophically, "the world exists on hope"."
Asked to comment on reports that the Congress will try to keep the SP in good humour till the Parliament session ends on February 26, Singh retorted, "We have already been used and just throwing us away remains."
When queried about his meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Singh said, "Pawar is a leader of the Board of Cricket Council of India, he is the agriculture minister and he can lead the country."