The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam gets crown, BJP relief
- Kickoff with Mayavati probe; suspense on Cong

Lucknow, Aug. 28: Lucknow’s walls are being scrubbed clean of the BSP’s cobalt blue and repainted in the Samajwadi Party’s red and green, mirroring a regime change that will be complete with the coronation of Mulayam Singh Yadav on a river bank tomorrow.

Mulayam Singh, who has to prove his majority in 14 days, did not waste time in articulating his priorities and declared that his government’s first job would be to order a probe into charges of corruption against his predecessor Mayavati, 13 of whose legislators have offered support to the new coalition.

“Charges of corruption against Mayavati would be probed as per the law and no action would be taken to settle political scores,” Mulayam Singh said.

That should be music to the ears of the BJP, despite the disclaimer on settling scores, especially after Mayavati struck a jarring note today on the Babri Masjid demolition case in which L.K. Advani is an accused.

She claimed that BJP leaders had sought her help to withdraw the case but did not name anyone, sparing it for the “right time”. ( )

The BJP has already sent positive signals to Mulayam Singh. By allowing two MLAs of its ally Loktantrik Congress to join the Samajwadi bandwagon, the BJP has indicated that it is not interested in bringing down the coalition in the near future.

“We welcome the governor’s decision (to invite Mulayam Singh) as he followed democratic norms. But we intend playing the role of the Opposition seriously,” BJP state chief Vinay Katiyar said.

Mulayam Singh also hinted at revoking the anti-terror law invoked against Independent MLA Raja Bhaiyya, who has been brought to a Lucknow hospital today from prison, and others.

After a thanksgiving visit to Raj Bhavan in response to the invitation to form the government, Mulayam Singh said a small group of ministers would be sworn in on the banks of the Gomti, close to the city centre.

Asked whether the Congress will join the government, he said: “We would like them to join the government, but it is for their party to decide.”

The Congress Working Committee met for several hours in Delhi and asked Sonia Gandhi to take a decision. Most MLAs are keen on sharing power after a long period of deprivation.

But the Congress is in a dilemma as too much of hobnobbing with Mulayam Singh will antagonise Mayavati, whose help it is banking on in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Besides, the Congress is weighing the implications of power-sharing on the general polls — which are more important for the party than Uttar Pradesh.

Kalyan Singh’s party has agreed to join the government, making it all the more difficult for the Congress to justify sharing power with someone linked to the Babri demolition.

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