Saturday, May 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Saffron Maya woos Muslims
Biswajeet Banerjee

Lucknow, May 3
Immediately after taking oath as Chief Minister, Ms Mayawati struck a delicate balance — on the one hand defending the BJP on the Gujarat issue and on the other instilling confidence in Muslims, asking them not to get swayed by the Opposition propaganda.

Attacking the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), she asked why these parties stayed away from forming a government in UP. Why did these parties not support the BSP to form a so-called secular government, she asked.

Addressing a press conference here today, she blamed Opposition parties for playing politics over dead bodies in Gujarat. Defending the BJP, she said if all parties had joined hands with the state government there, then the situation might have been different today.

“Moreover, a high-level inquiry should be held to bring to book the culprits behind the Godhra incident,” she said and added: “The people who were behind the Godhra carnage are responsible for pogrom in other parts of Gujarat”.

In the same vein, she, however, tried to put a soothing balm on Muslims’ hurt sentiments. “The minority community should not have any fear in UP. They had progressed in my last regime and this time too I take a resolve to protect them, come what may”, she said.

After Muslim clerics had given a call of social boycott of Muslim legislators of the BSP and the RLD, it seemed to be a political necessity for Ms Mayawati to give a message to the members of the minority community. “After the BSP had joined hands with the BJP, all kinds of appeals had poured in asking my Muslim legislators to quit the party. Why? Was it not the same BJP that had supported the SP in 1989 to form a government? Then the BJP was not a communal party, but now that it is our ally it has been branded communal”, she said.

“My Muslim legislators are with me. They will not desert the BSP at any cost,” she said. Earlier, Ms Mayawati took the oath of office along with 23 ministers — four of whom were Ministers of State with independent charge. Among the ministers 13 are from the BSP, nine from the BJP and two from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Three Muslim faces, one each from the BSP, the BJP and the RLD, were inducted in to the ministry. The BJP allies, including the Lok Janshakti, the Loktantrik Congress and the Janata Dal (U) were included in the ministry. Of the 23 ministers, 11 are fresh faces — three of which are from the BJP.

The Chief Minister clarified that a few more ministers would be inducted in to the Cabinet after she won the vote of confidence.



K. P. S. Gill meets Advani
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 3
Former Punjab Police Chief K. P. S. Gill, whose appointment as the Security Adviser to the Gujarat Chief Minister has been cleared, met Union Home Minister L.K. Advani here today.

The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes, sources said. Top Home Ministry officials remained tight-lipped over what transpired between the two.

According to sources, former Punjab “super cop” is likely to take up his new assignment shortly.

The move to appoint Mr Gill, known for leading successful anti-terrorist operations in Punjab, is likely to help Gujarat Government to check the continuing communal violence in the state.

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