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Cong strategy in UP to depend on Assembly poll
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The ongoing Assembly elections are being keenly fought and watched as its results will determine the Congress strategy in Uttar Pradesh and impact relations between the UPA partners at the Centre.

AICC sources said though its UP unit had renewed its demand for the dismissal of the Mulayum Singh Yadav government after the recent killing of a BSP legislator, the party was unable to take any precipitate action.

As of now, the Congress finds itself handicapped because of Mr Mulayum Singh Yadav’s periodic threats to form a Third Front, the fact that he enjoys the support of Left parties and the recent estrangement between the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) over seat-sharing in Bihar.

Party sources said Mr Mulayum Singh Yadav already had the backing of the Left parties but it would not like to take any hasty decision which could push RJD’s Laloo Prasad Yadav into that camp. As it is, Congress-RJD relations have soured despite the fact that Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav has been Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s most ardent supporter. Consequently, the Bihar election results have acquired significance.

The Congress, it is said, could feel emboldened to go in for extreme measures in Uttar Pradesh if the RJD does loose ground and is critically dependent on the Congress in case of a hung Assembly. In addition, it would also help contain Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav both at the Centre and in the state.

As of now, matters are on hold as far as UP is concerned. Congress sources said ideally it would not like to take recourse to any drastic measures because it does not want to be held responsible for toppling a secular government.

The Congress is, therefore, awaiting a court verdict on the case of 40 former BSP legislators who joined the Samajwadi Party. BSP leader Ms Mayawati has sought their disqualification under the anti-defection law and since the UP Speaker has failed to give its decision, the matter has reached the courts.

Congress leaders said in case the courts disqualify these legislators, the Mulayum Singh Yadav government would be reduced to a minority, thus paving the way for Central rule and then a mid-term poll.

However, there is also a lurking fear in the Congress that it could be preempted by the SP leader who could dissolve the Assembly and call for a mid-term poll. Although the Congress claims it is ready for such an eventuality, the fact is that its party organisation in UP continues to be in a state of disarray. Although the Congress is making efforts to put its house in order, it is proving to be an uphill task and the party is nowhere close to facing an election.


Posters issue: 2 bodies caught in EC net
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The Election Commission today registered FIRs against two organisations in Bihar for displaying posters depicting the Godhra train blaze and the subsequent riots in Gujarat in Bhagalpur.

The FIRs have been registered against Mil Jaanib Anjuman Ittihad Millet and Guddu Arts Press in Bihar under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, EC sources said.

The commission has already launched investigation through Superintendent of Police in Bhagalpur into the issue and warned that “appropriate action will be taken, if anybody is found to have committed electoral offence or violation of the Model Code of Conduct”, the sources said.

The posters blaming the BJP for the Godhra train carnage and subsequent riots in Gujarat were found pasted on walls in some Muslim-dominated areas and the RJD offices here today, prompting the BJP to petition the Election Commission seeking RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav’s arrest and derecognition of his party.

Posters of a man crying with Mr Laloo’s photograph proclaiming him as the saviour of Muslims and holding the BJP responsible for the Godhra incident and its aftermath were found pasted in Bhagalpur town and Nathnagar Assembly constituency.

Meanwhile, ahead of the first round of Assembly polls in Bihar on February 3, the Election Commission has directed posting of senior police officials in certain sensitive areas to ensure peaceful polling.

Inspector General of Police-level officers Rajvardhan Sharma, Paras Nath Rai and Abhay Kumar Upadhyay will be posted in Madhepura, Samastipur and Kishanganj districts respectively to supervise law and order and other election related works, the EC sources said.

Another senior IPS officer Arvind Pandey has been posted as Superintendent of Police in Saharsa, the sources said.

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