The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati ‘spicy’ menu

New Delhi, Aug. 24: Two days before the budget session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, the BJP’s alliance with Mayavati went through a convulsion set off by a meeting of four party leaders with the governor last night.

Chief minister Mayavati, too, kept the BJP on tenterhooks, dropping loud hints at Lucknow during the day that her party convention in the state capital tomorrow would take “significant” decisions.

“Come to the venue of the convention in full gear and telecast it live. You will get lots of spicy news there,” she told reporters in Lucknow.

For the record, however, BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu dismissed speculation of a possible threat to the coalition. “There is no problem. The chief minister has spoken to me and she would be coming to meet BJP leaders after her party’s national council meeting,” he said.

The four state BJP leaders who met governor Vishnu Kant Shastri included Vinay Katiyar and Lalji Tandon.

Katiyar, who heads the state BJP, said in Lucknow that the meeting was a courtesy call to inquire about the health of Shastri’s brother, who is ailing. However, BJP sources said the meeting was meant to convey the party’s apprehension that Mayavati may recommend dissolution of the Assembly and continue as caretaker chief minister.

The sources said Tandon, a senior minister in the Mayavati cabinet and her rakhi brother, and the others impressed on Shastri that if at all dissolution became inevitable, the state must be brought under Delhi rule and not remain under Mayavati.

After initial hedging, Katiyar said: “If dissolution is the only option, we would rather go for elections straightaway than have a caretaker government.”

Asked why the possibility cropped up suddenly, especially after the BSP voted against the Congress-sponsored no-confidence motion in Parliament, the sources said developments in the Taj corridor case, in which senior officials said to be close to the chief minister are involved, could be the flashpoint.

The BJP sources claimed that with the Supreme Court in serious pursuit of the case, Mayavati might opt for dissolution as a way out. The cabinet meeting she has convened on Monday has fuelled the BJP’s suspicion.

Asked if an alternative combination led by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party could come into being, Katiyar said: “In politics, there are no permanent foes and friends and a foe today may be a friend tomorrow.”

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