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Discontent brews in UP govt

Lucknow, Oct. 11: For Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati, the winter of discontent seems to have begun.

Though she sought to smooth the ruffled feathers of her Bahujan Samaj Party’s Muslim supporters by including three legislators in the 56 she inducted in her ministry today, there were signs of trouble in the ranks of the BJP and its NDA allies.

Trouble started at the swearing-in itself when a BJP leader in the original list of 57 ministers — 12 Cabinet, 18 ministers of state with independent charge and 29 ministers of state — did not turn up.

Even as the new entrants were being sworn in, word reached that Ganga Bhakta Singh, a senior BJP leader, had resigned from the legislature party. Then, the BJP MLA from Ayodhya, Lallu Singh, refused the post of the minister of state because he considered it below his dignity. Former ministers Narendra Singh Gaur, Harishchandra Shrivastava and six others sulked in silence.

Among other coalition supporters, the 14-member Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Samarpal Singh seemed infuriated by alleged “betrayal by my own leader”.

None of the 16 Independents supporting the coalition has found place in the ministry, which includes Hari Shankar Tewari (Loktantrik Congress) and Amar Mani Tripathi (BSP), feared for their criminal past.

Mayavati said at a news conference: “Their criminal past does not mean that they will not reform, now that they are in good company.”

This seemed to add to the sense of injustice felt by supporters of former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya (Independent), who was kept out on grounds of his criminal record.

“It’s the beginning of her end,” said one of the dissident leaders, who have already started confabulating on their future course of action with Raja Bhaiyya as the rallying point.

Mayavati pretended to ignore the signs of discontent. “Those who could not be accommodated will be looked after and suitably adjusted,” she said.

The stage is now set for Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh to start fanning the discontent in the BJP and its allies. Political observers, however, rule out any dramatic development because the first hurdle Yadav faces is to win over the 25-member Congress and bolster the number of his supporters.

Apart from 143 Samajwadi MLAs, Yadav can count on six others from Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party, Sonel Lal Patel’s Apana Dal and the communists. Even if the Congress agrees to support it, the Samajwadi needs 30 more to topple Mayavati’s applecart.

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