The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flock targets Tandon

Lucknow, Sept. 9: After Mayavati, it is the turn of her rakhi brother to feel the heat.

A day after he wished chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who sailed through yesterday’s confidence vote, Lalji Tandon, the new leader of Opposition in Uttar Pradesh, has found that MLAs of his own party are gunning for him.

More than three dozen BJP legislators have signed a written complaint against “Tandon’s style of working” and plan to send it to the party’s national chief, M. Venkaiah Naidu.

“Within the next two days, nearly 80 per cent of the party MLAs will sign it,” claimed Chandramani Kant Singh, the leader of the remove-Tandon campaign.

Singh noted that during the debate on the confidence vote, Tandon had not only promised “not to pose impediments” in Mulayam Singh’s way, but offered the benefit of his wisdom and experience to the new Samajwadi Party-led government.

The legislators now want Tandon — who was not only one of the architects of the ill-fated Bahujan Samaj Party-BJP coalition but the most influential BJP minister during its 15-month tenure — to tender a public apology for Mayavati’s misrule.

“The party has already paid a heavy price for allying with Mayavati. Now we must tell the people that we have realised our mistake and that it wouldn’t happen again,” said Narendra Verma, one of the MLAs who had openly rebelled against Mayavati last November.

Some of the rebels are openly threatening to walk out of the party if “self-seeking leaders like Tandon” are not banished. The 28 Thakur MLAs of the party provide the core of this resistance, but the resentment is not limited to any particular caste.

“The resentment against the party leadership is not restricted to the Thakur MLAs. Others are equally critical of the leadership and the party can witness a split anytime if corrective steps are not taken,” warned an MLA.

If behind-the-scenes activities at the residences of Mulayam Singh and his ally Kalyan Singh are any indication, the trio — the other man being Samajwadi general secretary Amar Singh — is not only determined to poach on Opposition groups. Apart from planning a second split in the truncated BSP, they are eyeing the BJP’s wayward flock.

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