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Rivals weigh Mayavati option

New Delhi, March 6: Opposition parties are exploring the option of moving a privilege motion against Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayavati for making “baseless allegations” about MPs misusing money allocated under the MP Local Area Development Scheme.

“We repudiate the blanket allegation that all MPs are misusing their constituency development funds. You cannot say all of 793 MPs in Delhi are corrupt simply because some people are misusing funds,” said CPM MP Somnath Chatterjee. The Congress said it will apprise President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam of the developments in Uttar Pradesh.

“Mayavati has denigrated all MPs. We are considering all options, including bringing a privilege motion against the chief minister,” said Chatterjee. He said the Opposition would also demand a discussion on Uttar Pradesh under Rule 184, which requires voting.

Leaders of the Congress, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal met this morning to chalk out a strategy to pin down Mayavati and the BJP, her ally in Uttar Pradesh.

The Opposition has been up in arms for the past three days in both Houses of Parliament, demanding a discussion on the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s call to party MPs to give part of the funds they receive from the scheme to the party. Opposition leaders say the BSP chief has lowered the prestige of MPs and MLAs and this was, as such, not just a party issue.

However, Opposition members in the Lok Sabha did a U-turn today and settled for a discussion on the constitutional propriety of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly negating a no-trust motion against the BSP-led government by voice vote and without a debate.

There was a consensus in the business advisory committee meeting that discussing the issue on the floor of the House would send out a wrong signal. The majority of those present felt it should be discussed at a meeting of political parties.

In the Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat played to the hilt the role of a stern headmaster by refusing to yield to the demand for a discussion during question hour.

The acrimony threw House proceedings out of gear for the whole day. “I am ready to quit my post but will not allow any unfair infringement by the Centre on the right of the states,” Shekhawat said.

The Opposition wanted a discussion on the developments in Uttar Pradesh as soon as the House met at 11 am. The Rajya Sabha Chairperson, however, maintained that the leaders had promised that they would not disturb question hour.

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