Monday, April 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP-BSP tie-up in UP on cards
Talks on govt formation after PM’s return
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 7
Strong denials by the state party units notwithstanding, a tie-up between the BJP and the BSP for the formation of a government led by Ms Mayawati is now in final stages and is likely to be announced anytime after the three-day national executive meeting of the BJP in Goa this week.

While UP BJP President Kalraj Mishra had yesterday denied talks with the BSP for government formation, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said the question of the formation of a government in Uttar Pradesh would be discussed after his return from the two-nation tour.

“This will be discussed after I return,” Mr Vajpayee said when asked to comment on the reports of consultations between the BJP and the BSP on government formation in the state.

The Prime Minister was talking to reporters here before leaving on a five-day tour of Singapore and Cambodia.

Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi said this issue would be decided in the party’s Parliamentary Board meeting.

Sources said the opposition to a tie-up with the BSP was slowly weakening as Union Home Minister L.K. Advani was considering that a long-term strategic understanding with the BSP would prove to be in the interest of the BJP.

The BSP Vice-President Mayawati would be the Chief Minister for five years and in return, the BJP would have the former’s formidable vote bank for the Lok Sabha election.

The deal, which is being worked out and is almost in the final stages, would give 25 Lok Sabha seats to the BSP while the rest 81 seats in Uttar Pradesh would be contested by the BJP and its other allies like the Lok Dal of the Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh.

Explaining the opposition of the state unit led by Mr Mishra and former state Chief Minister Rajnath Singh, a party source said this was being done for enabling the negotiators to strike a hard bargain.

While the BJP would be part of the coalition government, it would have some crucial portfolios along with the post of a Deputy Chief Minister, sources said, adding that the state would have a stable government.

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