Thursday, April 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM summons UP BJP leaders
To hold parleys on government formation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has summoned BJP leaders from Uttar Pradesh to the Capital tomorrow for clearing the decks for installation of the BSP Vice-President, Ms Mayawati, as the state Chief Minister in the next few days.

The BJP state President, Mr Kalraj Mishra, and a former UP Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, along with other state leaders like a former Urban Development Minister, Mr Lalji Tandon, are arriving here tomorrow to meet Mr Vajpayee and the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani.

The meeting would discuss the likely agreement between the BJP and the BSP.

Once UP BJP leaders, majority of whom were opposing till recently a tie-up with the BSP, are convinced to change their mind over a blueprint that was prepared by Mr Advani and Mr Kanshiram yesterday, then the party’s Parliamentary Board would be convened to officially approve the arrangement which would clear the way for Ms Mayawati to take the reins of the state.

The Prime Minister would tell the BJP state leaders that a tie-up with the BSP was in the long-term interest of the party as with the loss of Brahmin votes in the state, the party would compensates its loss of voters with Dalit votes.

Moreover, the BSP supremo has promised that the Harijan Atrocities Act would not be misused as was done in the last two Chief Ministership of Ms Mayawati.

With Mr Kanshiram agreeing to give the post of the Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly to the BJP, the party would hold the baton to keep the BSP Chief Minister under check Mr Vajpayee is expected to tell the state leaders.

Even while a call had gone to the UP leaders to come to New Delhi for a meeting with the Prime Minister, the party chose to maintain a strict silence.

In reply to a question, Mr Malhotra said the party had not yet taken any decision in this regard to getting into an understanding with the BSP in Uttar Pradesh to form the next government in the northern state.

He said, “A of now, the decision of the BJP Parliamentary Board that the party should sit in Opposition in the state Assembly in deference to the people’s mandate, stands.”

Only the party’s Parliamentary Board could rescind its decision. He said as far as he knew, there was no meeting of the Board, either today or tomorrow. 

Former Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan today resigned from the BSP in protest against the party’s reported move to forge ties with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

In his letter to BSP National President Kanshi Ram, he said “When the practitioners of hatred are indulging in most barbaric, unprecedented and perverse violence in Gujarat and defending the same in the name of reaction, the BSP choosing to make common cause with them has given many people including me a chilling shock.


Upper-caste officials fear Mayawati’s return
Biswajeet Banerjee

Lucknow, April 17
Apprehending another Mayawati backlash, upper-caste officials are getting ready for a reshuffle.

In the last six-month rule of Mayawati, at least 461 officials were transferred and 61 officials, 12 of whom were IAS officers, suspended. About 400 officers were transferred in her first 180-day rule in 1994.

Bureaucrats vouch that the BSP Vice-President has a penchant to humiliate officials, that too in public.

Anxiety among them is evident from that fact that there is no rush among officials to take plum positions in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. “No one is willing to throw his hat in the ring as everyone knows as who will form the coterie of Mayawati,” said the official.

Grapevine says that some Dalit officials are in touch with Ms Mayawati. A principal secretary rank officers, who had served as principal secretary to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, is said to have been consulted by the BSP bigwigs as to who would be in CM’s secretariat.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife about the date on which Mayawati could take oath. “It could be April 21 when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would be present in Lucknow,” said the state president of the BSP, Mr Indrajit Saroj. The PM is expected to be here to inaugurate circular railway in Lucknow, his parliamentary constituency.

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