The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati bristles at Mulayam

New Delhi, March 7: Stung by the videotape controversy, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati today said she would not spare Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav if she found evidence that he had misused the chief minister’s discretionary funds during his tenure.

“Mulayam Singh Yadav should touch my feet and say he made a mistake and beg my pardon for that,” the Bahujan Samaj Party chief thundered even as another videotape victim, Samata leader Jaya Jaitly who was caught by the Tehelka website, offered all support to Mayavati. Jaitly alleged that the Samajwadi chief was out to destabilise the Uttar Pradesh government.

Mayavati said Mulayam should “publicly apologise” for coming out with a “forged” and edited videotape against her, which allegedly showed her telling BSP legislators to divert part of their constituency development funds to party coffers.

Mayavati, who arrived here today, had a discussion with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. She apprised the home minister of the political situation in the state and briefed him on the details of “misappropriation and misuse of funds” by Mulayam as chief minister, said sources.

The BSP chief, however, said she discussed with Advani the strategy to be adopted for jointly contesting the Lok Sabha polls in 2004.

Later, Mayavati said she had already replied to the tape issue raised by Mulayam on March 4 at a news conference and by issuing a press statement. “I do not want to repeat that,” she said.

The chief minister ruled out her resignation in the wake of the videotape controversy and the Opposition threat in Delhi to haul her up for breach of privilege. “The question of tendering a resignation does not arise.”

Mayavati alleged that Opposition members were thinking of grabbing power by any means, including buying MLAs of the ruling coalition. “But none of the MLAs of the ruling coalition fell into their trap.”

The chief minister accused the Samajwadi leader of being “desperate”, following the defeat of his party’s no-confidence motion against her government. Stepping up her offensive, she said: “If the inquiry brings out facts against Mulayam, stern action would be taken against him also. Mulayam will not be spared.”

Mayavati got support from Jaitly, who likened the controversy to the Tehelka tapes and claimed Opposition members were raising the issue in an attempt to destabilise the government. In the past few days, the Samajwadi had tried to create political instability in Uttar Pradesh by releasing tapes allegedly showing Mayavati encouraging misuse of MPs’ and MLAs’ development funds.

“You are aware that two years ago, a similar effort had been made to destabilise the Centre by releasing the Tehelka tapes. A commission of inquiry was set up to go into the authenticity of the contents in the tape,” she said.

The probe was still continuing and whatever was sought to be portrayed through the tape was far from the truth, Jaitly added.

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