The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP mum on Mulayam trust vote

New Delhi, Sept. 2: The BJP seems unwilling to reveal its strategy during the vote of confidence for newly-anointed Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Assembly on September 8. A decision will be taken on September 5 when state leaders will meet deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu here.

Sources said it would be clear by then if Mulayam has the numbers to cross the halfway mark of 202. Although no one is willing to say so officially, the BJP’s calculation is that if Mulayam is comfortably placed number-wise by ensuring a split in the BSP, its legislators would be directed to vote against the motion and get into Opposition mode from the word go.

If, on the other hand, Mulayam’s position seems unstable, the BJP could consider asking a group of its members to abstain and help him get through. The overweening view within the party was that political instability was the last thing it could risk in a state like Uttar Pradesh and with the BSP alliance off and its own state unit in a shambles, an election must be avoided at all cost.

Party sources admitted that rebuilding the state unit would have to start with getting the “right” leader. The central command is of the opinion that the present leaders are neither “charismatic nor effective”.

How undecided the BJP’s strategy on Uttar Pradesh was became evident in what spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said today when asked if his party would vote against the motion.

“(The) BJP is in Opposition mode and will essay the Opposition’s role effectively. We will perform this role during the confidence vote,” he said.

Asked if some MLAs may abstain, he replied: “We have not thought about it nor have we taken a decision. There is news to this effect, but it is wrong. When we are in (the) Opposition, we must vote against the motion.”

Asked if a whip would be issued, Naqvi said: “We have not yet decided.”

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