The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam flexes majority muscle

Lucknow, Nov. 1: Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav today paraded 145 party legislators in Raj Bhavan to press for dismissal of the Mayavati government since it had been reduced to a minority following withdrawal of support by 12 BJP legislators.

Claiming the support of 204 MLAs, without the 25 Congress members, the Samajwadi demanded that as the largest single party, it should be invited to form the government. Travelling in Patna, Yadav put the Congress on notice, saying he would be able to form the government even without its support.

“The Congress should now say if it is willing to back the secular forces. How the country’s future politics shapes up will depend to a large extent on the party’s stand,” he said.

As the BJP’s salvage team led by former party president Kushabhao Thakre tried unsuccessfully to put down the rebellion, the Samajwadi stepped up its offensive. Its general secretary Amar Singh claimed that 37 BJP dissidents were with him — 25 more than the 12 who met Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri yesterday to declare withdrawal of support to the BJP-Bahujan Samaj Party government.

Although he refused to identify these 25 MLAs, Singh predicted the government’s fall by November 10: “You can expect another bombshell soon.”

The BJP has threatened to disqualify the 12 legislators. BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu said in Delhi that the Maharashtra option, where the Speaker disqualified some NCP legislators at the request of the leadership because they did not form the one-third required for a formal split, could be exercised in Uttar Pradesh.

Thirty MLAs have to break away to split the legislature party which has a strength of 88.

Mayavati is hoping that Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi would now come to her rescue by disqualifying the rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law. Tripathi has already indicated that what happened in Maharashtra can be repeated in Uttar Pradesh. “In certain circumstances, a legislator’s conduct outside the House can also draw the provisions of the anti-defection law,” he said.

The ball is now in the Governor’s court. Yadav’s parade today was aimed at turning up the pressure on Shastri to summon a special session of the Assembly for a trial of strength.


Yadav knows he has to reckon with an unfriendly Governor and Speaker and intends raising the political temperature further. Observers expect another batch of BJP rebels to come out in the open soon.

Despite his bravado that the Samajwadi could form a government even without the Congress, Yadav realises the importance of winning over the party.

But the Congress held its silence.

Enthusiastic Samajwadi supporters burst crackers at the party office today in premature Diwali celebrations. The BJP headquarters was enveloped in darkness.

“Whatever the outcome, the party is now doomed,” a BJP leader said.

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