The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Blessing’ blot on UP ties

New Delhi/Lucknow, March 9 (PTI): The ties between Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati appeared to have come under strain with the Prime Minister’s Office contradicting reports that he had blessed her at a meeting here yesterday.

After the PMO statement, Mayavati spoke to Vajpayee to convey her annoyance.

A PMO spokesman had said the Prime Minister did not give his blessings to Mayavati at their meeting yesterday. “Neither did she seek blessings nor was any blessing given,” the spokesman said.

The chief minister had only apprised the Prime Minister of the political situation in the state, he added.

Mayavati had told reporters here after the meeting that Vajpayee had blessed her and expressed happiness that the BSP-BJP coalition in Uttar Pradesh was running smoothly.

The PMO spokesman’s remarks suggest an effort by Vajpayee to steer clear of the controversy over allegations that Mayavati had asked BSP legislators to divert constituency development funds to the party.

Stung by the PMO spokesman’s remarks, Mayavati held a news conference in Lucknow late tonight and made no secret of her unhappiness.

She said she had told Vajpayee that the comments affected the image of her party. Mayavati said Vajpayee should have spoken to her before the PMO went public with the statement and she would have informed him of the “true facts” about her reported remarks to the media yesterday after the meeting with the Prime Minister.

“I also told the Prime Minister that it would have been better if he had spoken to me before issuing such a statement,” she said.

Vajpayee, she said, told her that he would look into the matter and asked her to call a news conference to clarify her position. According to Mayavati, the Prime Minister said the media had sought his comment on her statement made after their meeting yesterday and that if she felt hurt, it was not “intentional”.

Mayavati said there was no question of her seeking Vajpayee’s blessing when she already enjoyed it and accused a section of the media of “twisting” her remarks. She said she told the Prime Minister that while she spoke after their meeting yesterday, she had said the talks were “confined only to politics and nothing else”.

“I had told the media that I had apprised the Prime Minister of the political situation in Uttar Pradesh.”

She said: “I also cautioned him (Vajpayee) against efforts being made to create a rift in the BSP-BJP alliance government.”

PM ne kaha ki dat kar sarkar chalao. Barhiyan sarkar chalao,” (The Prime Minister told me to run the government with determination and in an effective manner),” Mayavati said.

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