| Railway minister Lalu Prasad demands the dismissal of the Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh during a news conference at his residence in Patna on Saturday. (PTI)
Lucknow, Feb. 17: Governor T.V. Rajeswar is believed to have recommended President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh in the report handed to the Centre today.
The governor’s house refused to officially confirm anything, but sources said Rajeswar has questioned the “legality” of methods the Samajwadi Party-led government is likely to use to win the floor test slated for February 26.
He is believed to have expressed apprehension that Mulayam Singh Yadav might indulge in the same kind of horse-trading he did to prove his majority on January 25 after the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal withdrew support.
That day, 13 MLAs from the BJP, BSP and RLD had crossed-voted to give the chief minister the required 223 votes. But no action was taken against them under the anti-defection law.
To pre-empt such a possibility, the governor is believed to have favoured central intervention before February 26.
Rajeswar was asked for his report on the Uttar Pradesh political situation after the Supreme Court disqualified 13 BSP legislators who defected to Mulayam’s party after Mayavati’s resignation in August 2003.
It is learnt that Rajeswar spoke to Union home minister Shivraj Patil last night over the phone. Sources said the home ministry might initiate a move to clamp President’s rule, although the CPM has been standing by Mulayam.
The chief minister spat fire while campaigning in Uttarakhand today, daring the Centre to intervene in his state.
“I am not going to resign. If they want to dismiss my government, let them do it. We will go to the people’s court on this,” he said at a rally near Nainital.
A senior minister said in view of the coming Uttar Pradesh elections, such a move would be a bonus as it would win Mulayam the people’s sympathy.
“We want the UPA government to sack us. It would be a welcome mistake by them.”
The governor’s report is also believed to have listed the apprehensions of major state political parties on the “abuse of constitutional provisions” by the Samajwadi Party.
The Congress and the BSP have reportedly argued that according to the Supreme Court strictures, all breakaway BSP legislators — including most of the 27 who defected later — virtually stood disqualified.
The BSP, BJP, RLD and V.P. Singh’s Jan Morcha have formally decided to back any move for President’s rule. The Congress — state chief Salman Khursheed rushed to Delhi this morning — said it would go the whole hog to blunt Mulayam’s efforts to whip up sympathy if the Centre does step in.
If it happens, President’s rule will be imposed in Uttar Pradesh for the tenth time
Former Uttar Pradesh Speaker Kesrinath Tripathi, who was responsible for regularising the BSP split, has sought disqualification of the MLAs who cross-voted during the January 25 floor test.
He appealed to Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey to disqualify them as the anti-defection law calls for instant cancellation of membership of legislators who defy party whip.