The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wolves on the prowl for Ajit’s flock

Lucknow, May 25: The 14 MLAs of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal are yet to formally withdraw support to the Mayavati government, but political brokers in the state have already begun bidding for their loyalty.

Suspended RLD legislator Samarpal Singh today said though Ajit was trying to shepherd his MLAs, “at least six MLAs” were in touch with him. Samarpal added that the RLD was certain to “break up”.

The MLA ridiculed the Jat leader’s claim that he had resigned from the Union Cabinet to take up the cause of farmers. “He (Ajit) remembers the farmers only when he is kicked out from a government. His own supporters have started realising this,” Samarpal said.

The RLD’s withdrawal of support has made the Samajwadi Party and the Congress claim the Mayavati government has lost its majority. They demanded that an emergency Assembly session be called and the chief minister be asked to prove her majority. But Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri is reportedly in no hurry to do so.

Opposing calls for a trial of strength, BJP legislature party leader and minister Lalji Tandon said the government had not lost its majority.

“A special session cannot be called just to satisfy anyone’s whim. The Opposition’s no-confidence motion was defeated in the last session. If it is so confident, it can bring another motion next time,” Tandon said.

With an RSS man as Governor, the BSP-BJP ruling coalition is confident a special session of the House will not be convened. “He (Shastri) has rejected similar demands in the past,” a state BJP functionary said.

The Bahujan Samaj Party shares this optimism. “If there was the least doubt, behenji (Mayavati) would not have undertaken a 15-day foreign visit at this time,” a senior BSP minister said.

While the coalition might ward off any immediate threat, BSP and BJP leaders are aware that their reduced majority casts a cloud over the longevity of the government.

They have quietly started exploring the possibility of splitting the RLD. Tandon met Samarpal today in this regard.

Rashtriya Kranti Party leader and former chief minister Kalyan Singh congratulated Ajit “on his bold step in resigning from the NDA government”.

He hoped Ajit would now join the united Opposition.

Kalyan is reported to have told Ajit the Samajwadi is keen to bring him into the Opposition fold. He assured the former Union minister he would fix up a meeting for him with Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav next week.

A Samajwadi source said though the party would welcome any group willing to join their fight against the ruling coalition, it was not keen to take the initiative in forming an alternative government.

“The Mayavati government will fall under the weight of its own contradictions. Our immediate task is to sound out the public and we would welcome anybody willing to join us (in doing so),” Samajwadi legislature party leader Mohammed Azam Khan said.

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