Lucknow, Jan. 9: Ajit Singh today pulled three ministers of his party out of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, but stopped short of withdrawing support officially.
There is no immediate threat to the chief minister’s numbers, but the move could trigger a clamour for dismissal of the state government.
Keeping the threat in mind, Mulayam late tonight announced that the Assembly would convene for a day on January 15 for a trial of strength.
Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has 15 MLAs. After their exit, Mulayam has the support of 225 MLAs. This is 23 more than the majority of 202 in an Assembly whose effective strength is 402 seats.
The Congress, with 16 MLAs, has long said it is not “attached to the state government”, though it has never formally announced a withdrawal of support. If it does pull out, Mulayam will have 209 MLAs, including 10 Independents. This will be seven more than the majority.
The RLD cited Mulayam’s refusal to raise sugarcane prices paid to farmers — a key issue in its stronghold in the state’s western parts — as the reason for the pullout.
But sources said the party was upset at the CBI probe announced by Mulayam into the role of RLD ministers in the scandal around Kavita Chaudhary, the murdered Meerut lecturer.
The RLD ministers who have left are Kokab Hameed, Virendra Singh and Swami Omvesh. Anuradha Chaudhary, an RLD MP who headed an irrigation commission, has also quit.
“The ministers have given me the resignation letters, which will be sent to the chief minister soon,” Ajit Singh said.
Asked if he was withdrawing support, he said: “What is the relevance of this support' Polls are due in two months. The Congress hasn’t withdrawn support either.”
Mulayam was flying to Saharanpur when the RLD thunderbolt struck him around 10.30 this morning. The plane was asked to return to Lucknow.
Sources say Mulayam had not “responded favourably” to Ajit Singh’s demand for 84 western Uttar Pradesh seats in the forthcoming elections.