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UP: Karat warns of ‘political problems’ over Central rule
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat today warned of “political problems” if the Congress-led UPA coalition went ahead and imposed President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh.

Meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a day after the Congress Working Committee backed the move to oust the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government in the state, Karat appraised the Prime Minister of the party’s strong opposition to the imposition of Article 356.

When asked what the CPM would do if the UPA went ahead with imposing President’s rule, Karat told The Tribune that there would be “political problems for the government.”

That was a clear warning by the Marxist leader, an old ally of Mulayam Singh Yadav, to the Congress leadership to desist from any misadventure. Manmohan Singh cannot take Karat's measured words lightly ahead of the Budget session beginning on Friday with the economic reforms at a crucial juncture.

"I met the Prime Minister and conveyed to him our stand on the matter. We are opposed to the imposition of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh. I hope the government will not go ahead with it", Karat said.

The CPM, however, got a shot in the arms from unexpected quarters, the Shiromani Akali Dal, who have demanded scrapping of the Article 356 itself. This stand of the Akalis indicated the division within the NDA, as the BJP has been in the forefront demanding dismissal of the Mulayam Singh government.

"We are opposed to imposition of Article 356. We in fact want that this provision should be deleted from the Constitution itself," SAD Secretary-General Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa told The Tribune from Punjab.

He said his party, whose governments in the past had been dismissed in Punjab, believed that Mulayam Singh should be allowed to take a floor test to prove his majority.

In another development, a Samajwadi Party delegation led by Amar Singh met President Kalam today to pre-empt any moves by the Centre to dismiss the UP government.

"We met the President and told him about the impartial behaviour of the Governor of UP. He has dirtied the entire politics of UP and we have asked the President to call him back," said Amar Singh.

Karat's meeting with the Prime Minister came a day after the CWC opined that the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party had lost the moral right to remain in power and left it to the Centre to take a decision on the state.

Besides the CPM, the CPI, which is opposed to the SP-led government, has also opposed central rule in the state. The other two Left parties - Forward Bloc and RSP - have also opposed any such move even though they may not see eye to eye with the SP on many issues.

However, Congress has the support of M Karunanidhi of the DMK party - its ally in Tamil Nadu, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Jan Shakti Party.

The government is extremely cautious and it does not want a Bihar-like situation in Uttar Pradesh and be faced with the embarrassment of President A P J Abdul Kalam, stung by the Buta Singh episode, taking his own time to sign the proclamation.

With the Budget session of Parliament beginning on February 23, the Manmohan Singh government seems to be left with little time to act, after weighing the legal and political fallout of the proclamation.

The Congress and several Opposition parties are clamouring for the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh government in the wake of the Supreme Court disqualifying 13 MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party for defecting to Mulayam Singh Yadav in August 2003 to help him form a government.

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