The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No defectors in Mulayam ministry

Lucknow, Sept. 6: Forty-three legislators of Mayavati’s Bahujan Samaj Party today broke away to form the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal and then merged with the Samajwadi Party as Uttar Pradesh witnessed the biggest party split in the state’s legislative history.

The Congress, however, said tonight it would not join the Mulayam Singh Yadav ministry “for the time being”, according to PTI.

The party’s decision was conveyed to Mulayam Singh and Samajwadi general secretary Amar Singh by Congress general secretary Nawal Kishore Sharma and Ahmad Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, general secretary Ambika Soni said.

Mulayam Singh appeared set for a smooth sail in Monday’s trust vote as Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi formally recognised the BSP split late at night after 37 defectors — more than one-third of the BSP’s 109-strong legislature party — met him in the Assembly’s central hall.

Six more rebels joined the breakaway group and would meet the Speaker later, their leader Virendra Singh Rana told Tripathi. Tripathi promised to accept them as members of the group after verification.

The formalisation of the split followed a day of high drama that saw BSP defectors shuffling sides, thus delaying the meeting with the Speaker. It was only late in the evening when Amar Sigh marched into the central hall to present the 37 MLAs — the exact number needed for a split — that the mist cleared.

With the merger of the 37 defectors — the decision on the six others is yet to be taken — the strength of the Samajwadi in the 403-member House has shot up to 179. With support from 16 MLAs of the Congress and 14 of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, Mulayam is comfortably ahead of the magic number of 202 in the 403-member House.

While the Samajwadi camp celebrated victory, state BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya described the day’s developments as “murder of democracy”. He alleged that Mulayam Singh had used the state machinery and money power to secure defections.

On a day he finally managed to break the BSP, Mulayam Singh also sprang another surprise. There were no defectors among the six he inducted into his ministry, formed within an hour of Tripathi’s recognition of the splinter group and its merger with the Samajwadi. The six included two members each from his own party, the RLD and former chief minister Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party.

“It was Mulayam’s way of saying thank you to his friends and allies,” said a senior Congressman. “And a massage to the Congress high command that it should spell out its role in the state’s future politics before it is too late.”

Immediately after inducting the Samajwadi’s Azam Khan and Shiva Pal Yadav, the RLD’s Kokab Hameed and Anuradha Chaudhary, and the RKP’s Kusuma Rai and Rajveer Singh, Mulayam Singh promised another expansion after proving his majority.

While Mulayam described his first cabinet as “bare minimum for functioning”, his opponents described it as a conglomeration of family kingdoms. From the Samajwadi camp, Shiv Pal is Mulayam’s brother while Rajvir Singh is Kalyan’s son.

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