The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Corporate plot cry in UP
Mulayam, Karat

Feb. 20: Uttar Pradesh slid into a bare-knuckle brawl today with Mulayam Singh Yadav speaking of a corporate conspiracy to topple him and the Left advising the Prime Minister against a heartland overdrive.

The Congress responded by holding a late-evening meeting of its core decision-makers, including the party president, the Prime Minister, the foreign minister and the home minister.

The confrontation, building up day by day since the Supreme Court disqualified 13 BSP rebel legislators who support Mulayam, seemed to have reached a flashpoint with the chief minister going public with the allegation of a corporate plot.

“It is obvious that there is a conspiracy to dislodge my government. Even an industrialist — a very big one — is involved in the conspiracy to topple my government,” Mulayam told reporters in Lucknow without identifying the businessman.

The chief minister himself is no stranger to industrialists: Anil Ambani, who heads a part of the Reliance empire after an assets split with brother Mukesh Ambani, is one of the board members of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council. Anil is setting up a big power project in the state.

Pressed on the identity of the businessman, Mulayam said: “National leaders just drop hints. I have given the hint, though I am a small leader.”

The comments came as CPM general secretary Prakash Karat met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tell him that sacking the Mulayam government would create a “serious political breach” between the Left Front and the Congress.

Sources said the veiled warning did “not exactly mean” that allies Left would withdraw support. But it could lead to the first “serious” divide between them, in the sense that the basic understanding they share would end.

The Prime Minister is believed to have assured Karat that the Centre was still “weighing its options”.

Congress sources said the party’s dilemma centred on one factor: its rank and file was daily besieging Sonia Gandhi and Rahul with appeals to sack the government.

The sources said if the Centre had to act, it would have to be before February 23 when Parliament opens for the budget session.

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