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Tape-stung Mayavati at PM door

New Delhi, March 8: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati today called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the wake of the Samajwadi Party threat to release another video cassette to substantiate charges of corruption against her.

In a counter offensive, the Bahujan Samaj Party chief later told journalists that she would disclose the contents of the letter she had written to the Centre last week on the videotape controversy.

During her 75-minute meeting, Mayavati apprised the Prime Minister of “all facts” leading to the release of the videotape, which she alleged was “doctored”. The tape allegedly captured her demanding that BSP MPs and MLAs part with a share of their constituency development fund for the party’s coffers.

Both Vajpayee and deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, whom Mayavati had met yesterday, had rejected early this week the Opposition demand to table the letter in the Lok Sabha.

The chief minister also briefed Vajpayee on the political situation in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of her government winning the no-confidence motion, which the Opposition alleged was done fraudulently without any discussion. The Opposition is likely to raise the issue in Parliament again next week.

“I have brought all the facts to the notice of the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister through this letter. Everything can’t be said, but these facts can be revealed when the time comes,” she said.

The BSP chief said she also discussed with Vajpayee the possibility of extending the BSP-BJP alliance to the parliamentary elections next year. Mayavati said her “party would contest the Lok Sabha polls with the BJP”. The chief minister said she has briefed the Prime Minister on the political developments in Uttar Pradesh “in the past two-three days”.

Vajpayee, she said, told her that the BSP-BJP coalition government was running smoothly and asked her to maintain her efforts towards that end.

Regarding the Samajwadi demand for a CBI probe into the tape controversy, the BSP leader said the Opposition was making such demands because of the “fear that their MLAs are running away from them”.

The chief minister said though she had given a list of 211 MLAs supporting her government, “we won the confidence motion with 217 votes”. “This time also, the Samajwadi (which had moved a no-confidence motion) was unsure about the number of votes they would get. That is why they created a hungama (furore) in the Assembly and did not press for a vote as they knew they would lose.”

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