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Congress leaves Mulayam
Floor test likely on Jan 31
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 17
The Congress added a little more chill for the Samajwadi Party on the eve of the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha beginning tomorrow by formally announcing “technically withdrawing support” to the 41-month-old Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Announcing this at a hurriedly convened press conference, Uttar Pradesh Congress president Salman Khurshid said the 15-member Congress legislative party delegation, led by its leader Pramod Tiwari, would meet the Governor at 10 am at Raj Bhavan to hand over the letter of withdrawal of support and then later occupy the Opposition benches inside the House.

Describing it as “an appropriate decision taken at an appropriate time” Mr Khurshid admitted that the letter would not cause any harm to the SP-led government that was safe even minus the 15-member Congress and 15-member RLD support.

Clarifying the position, UPCC leader in the House Pramod Tiwari said the Congress had in fact been opposing the ruling alliance on “issues” and had in fact not supported the Samajwadi Party per se as the letter he had carried to the Governor at the time of the formation of the present government had extended support to any viable “non-communal government.”

Quoting “respect of popular sentiments” as the reason for the decision, Mr Tiwari said the Nithari case, Kavita murder and daily kidnappings combined with the failure of the government on all fronts had made Congress withdraw support.

Responding to a question on whether the Congress would bring a no-confidence motion against the SP government, Mr Tiwari said only the BJP with 83 MLAs was in a position to get such a motion passed, which would require at least 81 members in the present House. “Keeping their mutually beneficial relationship in mind it is very unlikely that they would do so,” he quipped.

Commenting on the present government’s unique practice of routinely seeking a vote of confidence, Mr Tiwari said such a provision was found nowhere in the Indian Constitution. “The Constitution speaks of a no-confidence motion against the government but not of a confidence motion. The present government apparently brings it on a regular basis to keep dissident activities within the party under check.”

The Congress decision coming exactly a week after the RLD ministers quit the government forcing the Cabinet to convene the Vidhan Sabha evidently to prove its majority on the floor of the House.

The Congress support to the SP-led government in Uttar Pradesh was just as the SP support to the Congress-led UPA government in New Delhi. Even the maverick Ajit Singh’s RLD parting ways from the government was more a matter of time. Their departure may dent the moral authority of the government but in no way causes any real harm.

What however is making the ruling party break into cold sweat on the eve of the stormy winter session is the crucial verdict of the Supreme Court on the defection of 40 BSP MLAs that can come any day now. In case the former BSP MLAs are disqualified, the government would be reduced to a minority triggering a fresh political crisis.

In sharp contrast to the cordial and amicable atmosphere in which the monsoon session dispersed on December 15, the summoning of the present session itself was fraught with a stormy political tussle between the Governor and the Chief Minister that threatened to snowball into a constitutional crisis.

The till recent alliance partner Ajit Singh’s RLD and the Congress, which till now was supporting the alliance from outside, have given indication of voting against the government when a vote of confidence is held.

During the session, the Opposition would raise the issue of Nithari serial killings and the deteriorating law and order situation in the state along with miseries of the farmers.

The government is likely to take the vote of confidence on January 31, probably the last day of the 14th Assembly, which would boost the morale of the ruling party before the Assembly poll, scheduled to be held before May 14, when the term of the present House expires.

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BJP’s no to pact with BSP in UP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party has come into an election mode as today it not only ruled out an alliance with the BSP in Uttar Pradesh but also accused the Congress of indulging in vote bank politics.

While party president Rajnath Singh said that there was no question of an alliance with the BSP or the Samajwadi Party before or after the election, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar lashed out at the Congress for playing havoc with the banking system of the country by asking banks to earmark a portion of loan disbursement for the religious minority in general and Muslims in particular.

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