The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati lists two friends & gang of foes

New Delhi, Sept. 4: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati today lashed out at “a group” of four close to Atal Bihari Vajpayee for plotting her exit but said she had nothing against the Prime Minister or his deputy.

The Bahujan Samaj Party leader, who last week spat venom at the BJP, baffled observers when she said both Vajpayee and the group led by L.K. Advani wanted her to continue. But the “scheming” four, who included defence minister George Fernandes, kept the Prime Minister in the dark about their designs, she added.

Mayavati, who alleged that some BJP leaders had threatened “she will be murdered” if she dared to “cooperate with secular parties”, also upset Congress calculations of a national-level alliance with the BSP for the Lok Sabha polls. She denied making any such plans. “I would like to put a stop to this rumour mongering,” she asserted, blaming the group which she said had manipulated her exit for spreading such rumours.

“The BSP is a national party unlike the Samajwadi Party, which is a regional party confined to UP. Any decision in the interest of Bahujan Samaj will be taken at the national level.”

The BSP leader, who was addressing her first news conference in Delhi since quitting office, also parried questions on whether she would revive ties with the BJP. “Even now I have good relations with both Vajpayee and Advani. Both of them were not in favour of an end to the (BSP-BJP) coalition government,” she said.

Besides Fernandes, Mayavati said senior BJP leaders Pramod Mahajan, Rajnath Singh and Lalji Tandon were part of the gang of four. About Tandon, she added: “He is not just Lalji Tandon, but Lalchi (greedy) Tandon. From the beginning, he was lalchi for the post of deputy chief minister.

“Till the last minute, Vajpayee did not want the coalition experiment to fail, but the pressure on him was so much from the group comprising Lalji Tandon and Rajnath Singh, that he succumbed to it.

“To this was added the scheming in Delhi by BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and NDA convener George Fernandes who helped Mulayam Singh Yadav form the new government.”

Asked whether the CBI investigation in the Taj heritage corridor scam had made her change her “tune” regarding the BJP, the former chief minister said she was not “scared”.

But she refused to say what the CBI had asked her during interrogation as the matter was sub judice.

Asked pointedly whether her party would join hands with the Congress or any other Opposition party, Mayavati said there would be no need for a tie-up with any outfit.

To repeated queries whether she would reconsider an alliance with the BJP as only a “certain faction” was responsible for her exit, she merely said: “We are confident of our victory in elections.”

Although she had no complaints against the Advani group, Mayavati alleged that the group close to Vajpayee was threatening to eliminate her if she tried to expose their conspiracy or make any attempt to join hands with any secular party.

Asked about her party MP Rashid Alvi’s reported statement that the BSP could consider an alliance with the Congress, she said: “I have spoken to him and he told me that his statement has been distorted and he has not said anything like that.”

She said her party MLAs were constantly being threatened and this had been brought to the notice of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Uttar Pradesh governor Vishnu Kant Shastri and Advani.

Asked what made her give Advani a clean chit when she herself had talked of pressure from the BJP to withdraw cases against him and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case, Mayavati said some BJP leaders had approached her for a new notification by her government.

She said she told them clearly that they could have got it done during the previous BJP regimes of Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh and Ram Prakash Gupta. “Our party’s clear stand is that we will abide by the court verdict on the Ayodhya issue.”

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