The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP eyes resignation escape route

New Delhi, Nov. 2: The BJP is thinking of seeking en masse resignations from its ministers and reconstituting the Uttar Pradesh government to break the impasse.

Well-placed sources said the plan, worked out at the highest level, was yesterday conveyed by human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi to Mayavati. The chief minister was requested to get her Bahujan Samaj Party ministers to resign as well so that the exercise seems “fair”.

Other options being considered are dissolution of the Assembly and placing the state under President’s rule for a short spell before an alternative order takes shape or calling for elections.

Mayavati had called Joshi twice yesterday, frantically seeking the BJP leadership’s intervention to “save the situation”, sources said. They added that the idea of reconstituting the Cabinet was to facilitate the exit of some BJP ministers to the party organisation while some from the party could be accommodated in the government. Senior ministers like Lalji Tandon and Om Prakash Singh may be the casualties of this formula.

Till last night, there was a move to get Tandon — supposed to be one of the root causes of the dissidence — to put in his papers. “But that would seem like capitulating before the rebels. So the idea of putting a sort of Kamraj plan in place was toyed with so that it would not appear that Tandon was singled out,” sources said.

They said the other criteria while setting up a new Cabinet would be to make place for old-timers, reduce the number of debutants and have a “more equitable” representation on the basis of caste.

Tandon apart, other sore points with the rebels were that first-time legislators like Amita Modi (Singh) were taken in despite a “controversial” past and that Thakurs were denied their “share”. It is likely that more Thakurs would be inducted as it was their representatives who spearheaded the rebellion.

The formula was reportedly communicated from Delhi to BJP veteran Kushabhau Thakre who is in Lucknow on a fire-fighting mission.

That it has had some impact was evident when two dissidents — Puran Singh Bundela and Ravinder Singh Pundir — met Thakre in Tandon’s presence and reaffirmed their “faith” in the Uttar Pradesh leadership.

Sources, however, added that rebels like Ganga Bhakt Singh would not find a place because “they carried the whole thing too far by openly hobnobbing with Samajwadi Party leaders”. But the BJP leadership may not carry out the threat of expulsion.

It appeared that the party might go through the motion of demanding an explanation from the suspended members and then eventually revoke the order.

It is still unclear when this formula or any other being contemplated would be implemented.

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