Friday, November 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Twelve BJP rebels withdraw support to Mayawati govt
Our Correspondent and PTI

Lucknow, October 31
The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh was tonight pushed to the brink with 12 dissident of BJP MLAs withdrawing support and demanding a special session of the state Assembly for a trial of strength.

Rebel MLA Kovid Kumar Singh, the third dissident to be suspended from the party today, met state Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri along with 11 of his party MLAs and eight Independents and conveyed the decision to withdraw support.

The dissidents told the Governor that the Mayawati ministry had been reduced to a minority and should be asked to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly, according to Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya.

Meanwhile, MLAs from the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP), Apna Dal and the CPM will meet the Governor, Mr Shastri, tomorrow, Samajwadi Party national general secretary Amar Singh said here tonight.

Mr Amar Singh said the MLAs had sought time from Mr Shastri sometime in the afternoon tomorrow for a meeting. He said the opposition MLAs would apprise Raj Bhavan of the state government’s present position in the Vidhan Sabha.

Before meeting the Governor, the legislators would chalk out the common points to be raised before the Governor.

In an attempt to defuse the ongoing crisis, a former national president of the BJP, Mr Kushabhau Thakre, earlier today held a series of meetings with senior party leaders and presided over a meeting of the steering committee comprising all four senior leaders — Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Kalraj Mishra, Mr Lalji Tandon and the state president, Mr Vinay Katiyar, today.

The sudden visit of Mr Thakre was seen as a last-ditch attempt by the party high command in Delhi to bring the rebel legislators back in the party fold. The 15-day-long political turmoil has given enough indications that the genesis of the crisis lies in the internecine fight among the top four leaders of the party.

One of the senior general secretaries of the party told The Tribune that probably Mr Thakre had come to verify the reports which had been sent to the party high command from the state capital. According to him, the reports sent by three leaders — Mr Mishra, Mr Rajnath Singh and Mr Katiyar — had given different reasons for precipitation of the crisis.

“Mr Thakre has come as a judge to see exactly what ails the state BJP and for this he is holding a series of meetings with the party leaders,” he said.

Immediately after reaching Lucknow, Mr Thakre, who was also in charge of the UP affairs during the Assembly elections, held one-to-one meetings with senior BJP leaders.

Later, the political situation in the state came up for review at a meeting here between Assembly Speaker Kesri Nath Tripathi, Chief Minister Mayawati and the state BJP leadership.

Emerging from the three-hour meeting, which was attended by Mr Katiyar and Mr Tandon, Mr Tripathi told reporters that the conduct of the MLAs outside the Assembly could attract the provisions of the anti-defection law.

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