Wednesday, January 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India

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Congress splits in UP
Speaker recognises breakaway faction

Lucknow, January 28
The Congress in Uttar Pradesh today split with eight of its 23 MLAs breaking away and forming a new group, which was granted recognition as a separate party by Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi.

The new group has been named Akhil Bharatiya Congress Dal.

Citing the rulings of the Supreme Court and the Guwahati High Court, Mr Tripathi said an unattached member Akhilesh Singh, who was expelled by the Congress sometime ago, has been treated as a member of the breakaway group which has been granted recognition.

The breakaway group had also requested for recognition of the split in the Congress Legislature Party, Mr Tripathi said. He said he had looked into all legal aspects before granting recognition to the breakaway group.

The leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Mr Pramod Tewari, however said he would challenge the decision of the Speaker in the court and bring a no-confidence motion against him for his “unconstitutional act.”

The Congress MLAs were confined in the Speaker’s chamber for over five hours and were forced to sign on the dotted lines, Mr Tewari alleged.

He contested the Speaker’s decision on the ground that expelled MLA Akhilesh Singh, who was declared an unattached member, has been treated as a member of the Congress.

Mr Akhilesh Singh, however, said they were forced to defect from the party in the interest of political stability and development of the state.

The Speaker said he had received a letter from CLP leader Tewari requesting him to take a decision with regard to formalising a split in the party only when the rebel MLAs appeared in person.

“Tewari never asked me not to consider Akhilesh Singh as a member of the party,” he said.

On the legal aspect, Mr Tripathi said the Supreme Court verdict in G. Vishwnathan case clearly stated that unattached members would be treated as members of the party from which they had contested the elections. A similar decision was taken by the Guwahati High Court last year, he added.

Earlier emerging from four-hour-long parleys in the Speaker’s chamber, Mr Akhilesh Singh said a formal decision with regard to supporting the BSP-BJP coalition government in the state would be taken later.

He said the group was forced to split from the party for ensuring political stability and development of the UP.

The parent party had deviated from its path and the “vigilant” MLAs rose to the occasion and formed a separate group in the larger interest of the people of the state, he said, adding that the group would follow the ideals and principles of Subhas Chandra Bose and Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

The Congress MLAs who have split from the parent body and formed the Akhil Bharatiya Congress Dal are, Akhilesh Singh, Kameshwar Upadhaya, Shyam Narain Tewari, Kasem Ali, Virendra Singh Bundela, Dinesh Singh, Vinod Kumar Singh ‘Kakka’ and Raj Pal Tyagi.

Earlier in 1997, 22 MLAs of the 34-member Congress Legislature group had split and it was accorded recognition by Speaker, Kesari Nath Tripathi as the Loktantrik Congress headed by Mr Naresh Agarwal. It supported the then Kalyan Singh government. PTI

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