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Mulayam must quit, says Cong
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, January 18
The Samajwadi Party faced complete political isolation today as the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which helped form the government, formally withdrew support by submitting letters to this effect to Governor T.V. Rajeswar.

The Congress delegation led by UP unit president Salman Khurshid and CLP leader Pramod Tewari went to Raj Bhavan before the Vidhan Sabha joint session to submit a letter formally withdrawing support from the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

They were followed by RLD MLAs, who visited Raj Bhavan after the joint session to submit a one-line letter to the Governor announcing RLD’s withdrawal of support to the SP-led government.

The development put at rest speculations of a possible patch up between the two alliance partners.

On January 9, when RLD president Ajit Singh announced the resignation of three of his ministers from the government, he had categorically mentioned that the “alliance was no longer in place”. He had, however, remained ambiguous regarding the withdrawal of support of the 15 RLD MLAs from the government, which came today formally.

Speaking to the media outside Raj Bhavan, Salman Khurshid and Pramod Tewari said the SP had lost the moral right to continue in office and should resign. Since the three parties, Kalyan Singh’s Rastriya Kranti Party, the RLD and the Congress, that were instrumental in installing the Mulayam Singh Yadav government had withdrawn their support, the government should not carry on.

Charging the SP of encroaching upon the Constitution, Tewari said SP senior leader and minister Shivpal Yadav was threatening of “changing the size” of the opposition parties in the Vidhan Sabha, which in other words meant encouraging horse-trading to keep the numbers on their side.

While both senior Congress leaders asserted that they didn’t want the government to continue for even a single day, they remained evasive on introducing a no-confidence motion against the government.

Furore over Nithari

The dark shadow of Nithari murders was visible in the Vidhan Sabha on the opening day of winter session as the entire Opposition, including the Congress and the RLD, disrupted Governor T.V. Rajeswar’s address to the joint session of the House raising anti-government slogans. The Governor left without reading the text of the official speech.

As soon as Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey escorted the Governor into the House the entire Opposition stood up. BJP MLAs displayed banners with slogans like “Rajyapal ji sach-sach bolo, SP ki qalai kholo” (Mr Governor speak up and expose the SP).

Another protest was by BSP MLAs, who wore identical headbands demanding “Nithari kand ki hatyari sarkar ko barkhast karo” (dismiss the government responsible for Nithari murders).

Later, Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon said his party had protested against the Governor's address as it did not contain any critical self-assessment of the government or highlighted the plight of the common people.

“The Governor, who does not tire of criticising the government outside the House, should have included his criticism in the address,” Tandon pointed out.

BSP leader in the House Swami Prasad Maurya said they were protesting against the blatant lie that was being passed on as the Governor’s address. “It does not give the true picture of the state, which is being shaken by macabre cases like the Nithari murders,” he said.

Describing the Governor’s address as the “dying declaration” of the outgoing Samajwadi Party government, Congress leader in the House Pramod Tewari said it was not a forward-looking document and mentioned nothing about any future vision.

Playing down the Opposition party’s protest, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohammad Azam Khan said this was the job of the Opposition and nothing better could be expected from them.

The House will now meet on January 24 to discuss the Governor’s address. A vote of confidence may be sought on January 25, the last day of the present session.

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