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BSP heads for split in UP
Rebels claim support of 40 MLAs
Our Correspondent and Agencies

Lucknow, September 5
A day after BSP legislature party leader Swami Prasad Maurya gave a petition to Speaker Keshari Nath Tripathi demanding the dismissal of 13 rebel BSP legislators, the dissident legislators held a meeting today and announced that the BSP was heading for a split with more than 40 MLAs ready to cross the floor.

“A split in the BSP would be formalised tomorrow with more than 40 legislators breaking away from the parent party,” said a former deputy minister in the Mayawati government and BSP MLA Haji Yaqub.

The new party would be called Loktantrik Bahujan Samaj Party. “The members of this group will meet the Speaker tomorrow for personal verification,” he said.

Mr Yaqub said the party would choose its leader tomorrow and would decide whether to merge with the Samajwadi Party or stay as a separate political entity.

At least 14 BSP legislators today held a meeting at the party office of the Samajwadi Party throwing an indication of things to come. Samajwadi Party state general secretary Sheopal Singh Yadav also participated in the meeting.

BSP legislator Amar Mani Tripathi, whose name figured in the high-profile poetess Madhumita murder case, also attended the meeting.

“The rebel legislators have decided to sever ties with Ms Mayawati due to her autocratic style of functioning,” said Mr Rajesh Singh Rana, a BSP legislator, from Saharanpur.

“On September 8, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav will prove his majority comfortably ... he will have the support of more than 250 MLAs,” said Mr Yogesh Singh, legislator from Gonda

The meetings in the rebel BSP camp started since morning. “We have been attending meetings since morning. All rebel legislators are meeting with the aim to give the state a stable government under the leadership of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav,” Mr Virendra Singh, who won the election recently from Chiraigaon, said.

It would be the second split in the BSP in the past five years. The BSP had split under the leadership of Mr Markandey Chand to form the Jantantrik Bahujan Samaj Party. The party supported the BJP-led government and in lieu all dissident legislators were made ministers.

Former Chief Minister Mayawati effected a split in the Congress and the Apna Dal. The breakaway group, called the Akhil Bharatiya Congress Dal (ABCD) merged with the BSP.

The breakaway BSP will have ABCD members, Apna Dal legislators and over six Muslim MLAs. “The breakaway BSP group will comprise more than 45 members,” said the state president of the Samajwadi Party, Mr Ram Saran Das.

Meanwhile, the BSP today filed a caveat before the speaker not to recognise the rebel legislators unless it was established that the breakaway group was an outcome of a split in the party.

The BSP had also issued a whip to its legislators to vote against the trust vote of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav on September 8.

The BSP also urged President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to check horse-trading of MLAs by Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav to win the trust vote.

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