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Mulayam blinks on Left advice

Lucknow, Jan. 11: Mulayam Singh Yadav has blinked in the stand-off with Uttar Pradesh governor T.V. Rajeswar.

The chief minister was advised by Left parties that there was little to be gained in locking horns with Rajeswar over his plan to reconvene the Assembly for a special session.

Left leaders told Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh in Delhi that going ahead with the special session on January 15 would trigger a showdown that might lead to the dismissal of the state government.

Amar was made to understand that the forced exit wouldn’t fetch the public sympathy the chief minister might be hoping to generate. The law, the Left leaders are believed to have said, was on the governor’s side.

Rajeswar has said a House that has already been prorogued — on January 3 after it officially finished its winter business — can’t be reconvened for a trial of strength. A fresh session must be called — with a 15-day notice.

Mulayam has 225 MLAs with him in the 402-member House, 23 more than the majority mark. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh pulled out his three ministers on January 9, but didn’t withdraw support officially.

Amar, who arrived here from Delhi this morning, passed on the Left’s message to the chief minister. Mulayam needs the support of the CPM and the other Left parties in Delhi to brand the governor a Congress agent.

Taking the cue, the chief minister called an emergency cabinet meeting — the fourth in two days — tonight to announce that the government would notify the governor’s order ending the winter session on January 3.

“We’ll issue a gazette notification of the governor’s order. We accept that the 17th session of the House has ended following the governor’s order to prorogue it,” Mulayam said. Asked if he would call a fresh session, he was evasive: “Let’s see. If we go for it, we’ll let you know soon.”

Under the Constitution, a governor’s order proroguing a House needs to be notified by the state government through a gazette for it to gain legal legitimacy.

Earlier in the day, an expert on constitutional matters had advised Mulayam to issue the notification.

Till 5 this evening, Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had been telling reporters that the special session would be convened. The situation changed after Amar urged the chief minister to call a cabinet meeting and stop the anti-governor rhetoric.

Raj Bhavan sources indicated that calling a special House “posed a grave provocation to the governor”. The message was conveyed to a mediator who talked to the governor’s legal advisers on behalf of the state government. “The governor might have declared the session invalid and its decisions unauthorised,” a source said.

The tidings from Delhi also appeared to suggest that the state government shouldn’t challenge the governor’s power to prorogue the Assembly as it “might set a dangerous precedent in the democratic history of the country”.

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