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ABCD splits in half

Lucknow, Feb. 3: The eight-member group of MLAs that split the 23-strong Uttar Pradesh Congress Legislature Party (CLP) four days ago split again today.

The splintering of the splinter group — recognised as Akhil Bharatiya Congress Dal (ABCD) by Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi immediately after the first split — has resulted in four ABCD members joining Mayavati’s Bahujan Samaj Party in the hope of a ministerial berth.

The other four have been left high and dry by Mayavati’s diktat that joining her party was a precondition to their eligibility for the big prize.

“We are still to make up our minds. But if Mayavati goes back on her promise, we might walk back to the Opposition camp,” said Akhilesh Singh, a former Congress MLA.

Akhilesh was expelled by the Congress, but treated as a legislature party member by Tripathi in a controversial ruling that the Congress now intends to contest.

Like Akhilesh, the other three members of the truncated ABCD, are yet to decide if they should return to the Congress or join Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

Kazim Ali spoke for those who joined the Bahujan Samaj. The scion of Rampur’s former ruling family whose mother Noor Banoo represents the constituency in the Lok Sabha said: “We came to the conclusion that ABCD has no political future.”

“Our split with the Congress on January 28 did not yield the desired results and we have now decided to join the Bahujan Samaj,” he said. The others who went with him are Shyam Narain Tewari, Bundelkhand MLA Virendra Singh Bundela and Kameshwar Upadhyaya.

Tewari is a relative of Bahujan Samaj minister Amar Mani Tripathi, who played an important role in engineering the latest Congress split.

The new Bahujan Samaj recruits met Mayavati earlier in the day before announcing their decision. They have informed the Speaker of their latest decision.

Kazim -- who had revolted not only against the Congress but also against his mother Noor Bano -- had told his supporters after the first split that “he would return to Rampur in a red beacon-flashing ministerial car”.

“He has joined (Bahujan Samaj) to get the minister’s berth after his mother publicly castigated him and asked the defectors to seek a fresh mandate,” a political functionary said. “The others may have to be content with minor prizes,” he said.

The remaining members of ABCD are angry. “The chief minister has been pressing (us) to join the Bahujan Samaj first and discuss other things later,” said one of the four left in the group. “We cannot join the Bahujan Samaj because our political career will be at stake.”

Apart from Akhilesh, the three other ABCD members are Dinesh Kumar Singh, Vinod Kumar Singh Kakka and Raj Pal Tyagi.

The Congress and the Samajwadi Party, encouraged by the splintering of the splinter group, claimed they are now all set to move a no-confidence motion against the Mayavati government in the budget session.

Samajwadi’s Leader of the Opposition Mohammed Azam Khan and CLP leader Pramod Tewari separately announced their intention to do so. And each hoped the other would support their party.

Khan indicated that after the Mulayam-Sonia Gandhi talks yesterday, chances of a coordinated strategy by both parties had increased. “This time, we will work in unison to topple the government,” he said.

The Bahujan Samaj, however, is confident it can counter any likely joint offensive. “It was after the Sonia-Mulayam meet on Sunday that Bahenji (Mayavati) forced a split in ABCD,” said a political aide to the chief minister.

The Bahujan Samaj camp emphasised that Mayavati had not only re-split the ABCD, but also won over the three-member Apna Dal that was a Mulayam ally.

Apna Dal leader Sone Lal Patel today said the experiment to form a backward “manch” involving his party, Samajwadi and Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party had failed. “We will abstain from the House if the no-confidence motion is brought,” he said.

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