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Mulayam brings more pain to Mayavati

Lucknow, Oct. 22: The threat to Mayavati’s ministry mounted today with some Rashtriya Lok Dal legislators joining BJP rebels in demanding that the party and its allies withdraw from the government.

“There is no point in our staying in the Mayavati government after its opposition to the demand for statehood to Harit Pradesh. We will ask our leadership to allow us to withdraw support,” RLD leader Samarpal Singh said.

Samarpal, a senior leader in the 15-member RLD, is unhappy because he was denied a berth in the ministry during its latest expansion. He and six other disgruntled MLAs are reportedly in touch with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who arrived here today.

Mulayam’s arrival is expected to act as a catalyst for dissidents in the BJP and among its allies who feel some BJP leaders are promoting personal interests at the cost of the party.

Malcontents in the BJP appeared undeterred by the threat of disciplinary action and reacted strongly to the suspension today of two colleagues, Ramashees Rai and Ganga Bhakt Singh. They even refused to meet emissaries of Kalraj Mishra, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge.

“The threatened disciplinary action has further steeled our resolve to fight state leaders bent upon annihilating the party in Uttar Pradesh,” said Rai, who is the spokesman of the Save BJP forum floated by the rebels.

The forum has called a meeting of like-minded legislators tomorrow to chalk out its course of action. More BJP legislators have promised them support after the suspensions.

The rebels are also in no mood to meet BJP national general secretary Rajnath Singh, who is arriving here tomorrow for fire fighting operations.

“Enough is enough. We are not ready to meet anyone especially after the autocratic decision against two of us without giving them a chance to put forward their point of view,” legislator Awadh Pal Singh Yadav said. He wondered how Rajnath would defuse the crisis when he had been unable to prevent his own humiliation.

Tomorrow’s meeting of the BJP rebels coincides with a meeting of Samajwadi legislators called by Mulayam. The Samajwadi chief has been in touch with BJP rebels and most Independents and is likely to remain here for two days.

Sources close to Mulayam hinted that 12 of the 13 Independents and small party legislators, who earlier supported the BJP-BSP coalition, have indicated their wish to switch sides.

Egged on by former minister and BJP-backed Independent Raja Bhaiyya, the legislators are meeting on Friday to form a pressure group. They have made it clear that they are ready to back an alternate government if it suits them.

Things appear to be in disarray in the state BJP with supporters of urban development minister Lalji Tandon managing to get the rebels suspended ahead of Mishra’s arrival.

State BJP vice-president Satya Dev Singh told newsmen the party had “singled out the most vocal legislators for action and had also identified those who were encouraging them from behind the stage”.

Mishra tried to control the damage by sending Satyadeo Pachauri and Vindhyavasini Kumar to meet the rebels. But they were bluntly told that the rebels were not ready to hold talks with state leaders.

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