Mulayam Singh made the announcement at the start of a two-day meeting of the party's national executive in this Taj Mahal town.

With most party leaders looking lost in the wake of the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar, the Samajwadi Party, which is in power in Uttar Pradesh, said it was ready to forge a Third Front of smaller regional outfits.

The party blamed "communal elements" led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Muzaffarnagar clashes that have left 37 people dead and said its government acted "fast and fairly" to restore normalcy.

But even as party leader Naresh Agarwal blamed the BJP, Mulayam Singh created more confusion by saying the riots were more of a caste riot, not a communal one.

Senior party leader Mohammed Azam Khan's absence proved an embarrassment for party managers who insisted that he was unwell.

Azam Khan has come out openly against the state government following the Muzaffarnagar violence.

The party attacked the UPA government for allegedly mis-managing the economy and for failing to tackle threats on the borders, especially from China.

It indicted the Congress-led UPA government for the rising corruption "beyond imagination".

In his presidential address at Hotel Mughal, Mulayam Singh said the country's unity and secular values were under serious threat.

He said India's problems cannot be resolved by the major political parties. Therefore, smaller regional outfits should forge unity, he said, ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

The party also opposed the formation of new states. Division of big states was no guarantee for development, it said, adding that the Congress had plunged Andhra Pradesh into flames by dividing it.


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