Thursday, March 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ruckus in LS over Maya’s letter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
The video-tape controversy, involving Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister today figured in the Lok Sabha for the second day even as Ms Mayawati wrote to the Centre a letter but the government refused to either table it or divulge the contents and urged the Speaker to take a view on it.

As the Samajwadi Party members were on their feet during the zero hour protesting Ms Mayawati’s reported statement that MPs and legislators should contribute their “cuts” from constituency development funds to the party coffer, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said he talked to her yesterday and she had written a letter to him explaining the position.

Since allegations had also been levelled against the Samajwadi Party, he did not think it proper that the issue be discussed here, Mr Advani said, suggesting that the matter remained confined to the state Assembly.

He did not think it proper to make a statement on the issue based on Ms Mayawati’s letter because it contained her views, Mr Advani said, pointing out that the state Assembly was seized of the matter and perhaps a no confidence motion was likely to be taken up.

Quoting Ms Mayawati that the video-tape was recorded in February, 2001, Mr Advani said he would send her letter to the Speaker for perusal and would like to know from him whether a statement could be made on that basis.

When Congress chief whip Priyaranjan Dasmunshi insisted on tabling of the letter, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee intervened to say that he too had a copy of the letter and requested the Speaker to go through the letter and decide.

“The letter should not be tabled,” he said, adding that everything was not tabled and certain things had to be kept in mind.

Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani said they were against placing on the table of the Lok Sabha Ms Mayawati’s letter to the Centre giving her views on the-video tape which allegedly exposed her corrupt practices.

Maintaining that the letter “should not go on the records” of the House, Mr Vajpayee, however, submitted to Speaker Manohar Joshi that he (Speaker) go through the letter and take his own decision without taking into account the views expressed by him and other Opposition members.

The Speaker had, yesterday, asked the government to collect information on the tape, which allegedly showed Ms Mayawati asking her MPs and MLAs at a meeting in 2001 that they contribute to the party from the commission they get from their local area development funds.

Agreeing with the views of Mr Vajpayee, former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar (SJP) said whatever was going on in Uttar Pradesh was “shameful. Let us not bring it to the House.”

The Samajwadi Party (SP), which had submitted the tape to Uttar Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri on Sunday had raised the issue in the House yesterday demanding a CBI inquiry and dismissal of the Mayawati government.

Mr Priyaranjan Dasmunshi insisted that the letter be placed on the table as Mr Advani had announced its receipt in the House. The House had a right to know its contents.


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