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Back to dirty tricks season

Lucknow, Oct. 27: Uttar Pradesh politics turned a shade murkier today as Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh landed in Lucknow to talk up the morale of rebel Independent MLAs and alleged that he had been threatened over the phone by someone claiming to be speaking on behalf of the chief secretary.

“All the Samjawadi workers are ready to go to jail if Mayavati misuses police to settle political scores,” said Singh, who drove straight to the residence of Raghuraj Pratap Singh (Raja Bhaiyya), the leader of the Independents who have deserted the chief minister.

Uttar Pradesh police had registered a new criminal case against Raja Bhaiyya yesterday after he submitted a letter to the Governor withdrawing support to the Mayavati government. A day earlier, the police had arrested the nephew of another rebel Independent, Dhananjay Singh, in Jaunpur and raided the MLA’s Lucknow residence in connection with a murder case.

“Someone on behalf of the state chief secretary rang me up last night and warned that I will be implicated in rape and murder cases if I did not suspend my activities to topple the Mayavati government,” Amar Singh told reporters after meeting Raja Bhaiyya and other dissident MLAs.

Singh’s charges evoked immediate response from Mayavati.

“After speaking to the chief secretary, I have found out that he had not interacted with Amar Singh at all,” she said.

The chief minister added that “the baseless allegation levelled by Amar Singh arose from his party’s frustration in failing to dislodge my government”.

She also denied that the recent police action against the Independent legislators was politically motivated, saying her government believed in the rule of law.

Mayavati claimed that complaints were received against some MLAs and these were examined at the local level, but it was unfortunate that the Samajwadi was trying to give it a political colour.

Police officials said the case against Raja Bhaiyya and his father had been registered in connection with the alleged kidnapping and murder of a Pratapgarh trader who alleged that the former prince of Kunda was exhorting money from traders in his area.

But they could not explain why the police kept quiet till now about the complaint — registered a month-and-a-half ago — and swung into action only after Raja Bhaiyya withdrew support to the Mayavati government.

The rebel Independents now fear that similar police action may be launched against others as some of them have a criminal history.

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