The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rivals arm against Mayavati

Lucknow, Aug. 2: Taking advantage of Mayavati’s estranged relations with the BJP despite her climbdown on a demand for Jagmohan’s resignation, Opposition leaders are gearing up to launch a fresh offensive to dislodge the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

After a two-hour closed-door meeting today, stalwarts Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh and Ajit Singh agreed that former BJP chief minister Kalyan Singh will head the new government after Mayavati’s fall.

“We have worked out the details and the Mayavati government will fall the day the House is convened,” Kalyan Singh said. He claimed that more than two dozen dissident BJP MLAs were in touch with him.

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh claimed the Opposition had drawn up a list of MLAs on whom it was banking, but refused to reveal the names.

“We don’t want to give Mayavati any time for her dirty tricks,” he said. The Samajwadi leader added that some of Mayavati’s ministers had also approached the Opposition and predicted “a stampede of floor-crossers at the first opportunity”.

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Jagdambika Pal and CLP leader Pramod Tewari alleged that the governor and the Speaker were trying to prop up Mayavati’s minority government in violation of the law. “But this time, we will make sure their efforts are foiled and they are left with no alternative,” Pal said.

Asking all Congress deserters to return, he said: “They have started realising that they are sailing on a sinking boat.”

Realising that the Opposition threat this time was serious, Mayavati has postponed the budget session from August 7 to 20. After getting reports of rebel MLAs joining hands with the Opposition, she is applying pressure tactics to deal with the dissidents.

Yesterday, eight rebel BJP MLAs met Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh and assured their support in dislodging Mayavati. Some new BJP dissidents met the RLD leader in New Delhi today, party sources said.

A rebel BJP MLA said the government, through its party leadership, had hinted at harsh action if they did not relent. The government today asked one of the dissidents, suspended former BJP MLC Ramashish Rai, to vacate his government accommodation.

A similar rebellion was crushed by Mayavati in November, when the leader of the rebels, Raghuraj Pratap Singh, along with his father and MLC cousin Akshay Pratap, were jailed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

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