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Amarmani and 39 desert Mayavati

Lucknow, Sept. 5: Within hours of the BJP ordering its legislators to oppose Mulayam Singh Yadav at Monday’s trust vote, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party split with over 40 MLAs breaking away and regrouping as the Loktantrik BSP.

“We had no hand in it,” Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh beamed as hordes of BSP legislators drove into his party’s Vikramaditya Marg office.

This is the second wave of defections from Mayavati’s BSP and comes a day after the party sought the disqualification of an earlier group of 15 under the anti-defection law. The deserters included former minister Amarmani Tripathi, whose alleged involvement in Madhumita Shukla’s murder had given the Samajwadi a handle to “expose” the Mayavati regime’s “misdeeds”.

“We have crossed the one-third mark (of 37) for a valid split and more are coming,” Haji Yakoob, the leader of the breakaway group, said. The group plans to call on Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi tomorrow to seek formal recognition.

Amar Singh said the BSP was splintering due to its inner contradictions. But BSP legislator Rashid Alvi held both the BJP and the Samajwadi responsible. He criticised Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri for giving Mulayam Singh 14 days to prove his majority, alleging this had encouraged horse-trading.

Sources said tonight’s drama was planned. “The SP’s original plan was to present the breakaway group on the floor of the House at the eleventh hour, but the BSP’s petition for disqualification… forced its hand,” an insider said.

The second “split” has reduced Mulayam Singh’s dependence on the Congress and fringe allies. The BJP’s whip to its legislators to vote against him has posed no problem either. “This will disprove the charge of a BJP-SP collusion Mayavati has levelled against us,” Amar Singh said.

Earlier, the BSP filed a caveat before the Speaker to block the breakaway group from getting recognition. Legislature party leader Swami Prasad Maurya said: “There has been no split in either the state or the national unit of the BSP, and hence the move of some party MLAs who have been lured by the ruling Samajwadi Party to form a separate political outfit is against the law.”

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