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Mulayam, Sonia ice melts

New Delhi, Feb. 3: Stung by the poaching of its legislators in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress today bared its fangs at the Mayavati government and showed the first signs of a thaw with arch rival Mulayam Singh Yadav, says our special correspondent.

The party has decided to move a no-confidence motion against the Mayavati government and a no-trust vote against Speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi when the Assembly meets early next month for the budget session.

Till now, the Congress was reluctant to target Mayavati and was ambivalent about supporting Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party, the main Opposition party in the Assembly.

 

Following a meeting of the 15 party MLAs and senior leaders from the state with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the capital this morning, Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari announced that his party will spearhead the twin no-trust moves in the Assembly next month.

The 75-minute meeting followed Sonia’s “significant” conclave late last evening with Mulayam at her residence.

This was their first meeting since the one in December that ended on an unhappy note after Mulayam made an unsuccessful bid to garner Congress support for a move to dislodge Mayavati.

Though Mulayam today ruled out forming a front with the Congress, he kept open the option of “issue-based” support.

Efforts are also on to win back some of the seven MLAs who deserted the Congress last week. The group suffered a further split today when four of them joined the BSP.

While considerable importance is being attached to Sunday’s Sonia-Mulayam meeting, Congress leaders remained tight-lipped about.

Congress spokesman Jaipal Reddy, however, dropped hints that Mulayam might be playing tough when he said that “no decisions” were taken during their meeting.

Sonia apparently sought Mulayam’s backing for the Congress nominee in the Gauriganj Assembly bypoll in the state and in return she offered to support the Samajwadi Party nominee in Haidergarh, the other constituency going to bypoll on February 26. Mulayam has not responded to the proposal.

 

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