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   A lot of people have been raising questions... (February 9, 1987)

A lot of people have been raising questions as to whether Mr. V. P. Singh is a leftist or a rightist. So, when I met one of Mr. Singh's close associates. I asked him about it.

"Let us put it this way, to different parties he is different things." The associates said. "To the BJP, he is a leftist, but required as a central force for the opposition to rally around. For the communists, he is a rightist, but acceptable because he has declared himself as a follower of Pandit Nehru's ideologies."

"That is very interesting, "I said, "but it does not answer the question the public is dying to know – is he a leftist or a rightist?"

"Let me see if I can explain it to you this way," said the associate. "When Mr. Jyoti Basu, Mr. Basu knows of his links with the BJP-RSS, but being a pragmatic communists, he is prepared to overlook them. Then, when Mr. Singh meets Mr. L. K. Advani, Mr. Advani is aware of his flirtations with the far left, but he is prepared to accommodate it and sit on the same platform as the communists."

"That is what they think about Mr. Singh," I said. "What the masses want to know is whether Mr. Singh is actually a leftist or a rightist. As a close associate of Mr. Singh, you should be able to say that."

"Well, yes and no," the associate said. "Perhaps, you will understand this: When Mr. Singh goes to Ahmedabad and Baroda, the BJP takes over his programme, and the Left Front, though evidently disapproving of this, does not make an issue of it. And when Mr. Singh goes to Bengal, the CPM takes over and makes a point to keep the BJP out, but the BJP executive decides not to raise the matter at its national executive."

"All that I know," I said. "But what the public wants to know is a precise answer to the question – Is Mr. V. P. Singh a leftist or a rightist?"

"And the public has a right to know," the associate said. "You can explain to the public in this way: In Benares, Mr. Singh is a Brahmin, but he is also a leftist because the left parties, including the CPI and CPM, have offered to join forces with him in the ouster of the present government. The BJP, naturally, cannot approve of this, but it accepts the situation as Mr. Singh has no objection to its representatives ovvupying the same platform with him at his meetings in the same city."

"I cannot explain all that to the public," I said. "Just tell me, if Mr. Singh become leftist prime minister or rightist prime minister?"

"If I reveal that now, he will never become prime minister," the associate said.

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