The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Malcontents to take berth pangs to PM

Lucknow, Oct. 18: BJP legislators who have been denied berths in the expanded Uttar Pradesh ministry are firm about taking their woes to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his two-day visit to Lucknow starting tomorrow.

“We will try to meet Atalji and submit our complaints against some state leaders to him,” said their spokesman, Ramashees Rai. “Our Central leadership has been kept in the dark during the recent Cabinet expansion and our exercise is aimed at bringing out the truth,” said BJP MLA Anil Verma.

Earlier, 24 BJP legislators, including 15 MLAs, had met at Rai’s residence defying the showcause notice issued to seven of them by the party’s state leadership.

The dissidents are now demanding that all BJP ministers resign and support to the Mayavati government be given from outside. “The BJP can support the BSP from outside as the latter is doing for the NDA at the Centre,” asserted a dissident.

While the BJP legislators gave vent to their ire at a closed-door meeting, Independent MLAs who met at a hotel claimed they would be forced to look for other political options if they were not represented in the ministry.

“We have won on our own and are not dependent on any political outfit. We are ready to support any party that ensures our fair representation in the ministry,” said Dhananjay Singh, an Independent MLA.

The state BJP leaders themselves are responsible for the problems being faced by the Mayavati government after the expansion of her ministry. “No Independent or MLC will become a minister,” state BJP leaders had told its legislators and Independents who voted for Mayavati during the confidence vote on May 17.

“We are raising the voice of rebellion only because our leadership had hit at the basics of the Constitution. There is no difference between the MLAs of both the Houses. Had there been, Pramod Mahajan or Sushma Swaraj would have not become ministers at the Centre. Why then the discrimination in the state and that, too, by a section of the party leadership'” asked Bharat Tripathi, a BJP MLA.

The agitated legislators alleged that only sycophants had been made ministers, while the party cadre as well as those who have been MLAs for three or four terms had been ignored.

“There is no representation (in the ministry) on caste or geographical boundaries. No Dalit MLA in the BJP has been made a minister in the party that claims to take care of all segments,” pointed out Verma.

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