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Mulayam stakes claim
By J.P. Shukla

The Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh Yadav, displaying his letter staking claim to form the next government in Uttar Pradesh, at the Raj Bhavan in Lucknow on Wednesday.

LUCKNOW, FEB. 27. An end to the political uncertainty in Uttar Pradesh did not appear to be in sight today with the Governor, Vishnu Kant Shastri, asking the Samajwadi Party leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to submit the list of his supporters in the newly-elected Assembly for consideration of his claim to form the next government, and Mr Yadav showing his reluctance to accept the Governor's advice.

Mr. Yadav, who was formally elected the leader of the Samajwadi Legislature Party on Tuesday, called on the Governor this morning to stake his claim to form the new government. He pointed out that the Samajwadi Party had emerged as the largest single party after the elections and tradition demanded that he should be invited to form the Government.

Mr Yadav cited the Supreme Court judgment in the S.R. Bommai case, according to which the largest party in the House should be invited to form the government and its majority should be tested on the floor of the House.

Mr Shastri, while promising to look into his claim, advised him to present a list of the MLAs who were likely to support his government.

Talking to newspersons later, Mr. Yadav said he did not think that submitting such a list had any relevance. Traditionally, the largest single party was invited to constitute a government on a number of occasions in the past, including 1996 when Atal Behari Vajpayee, had been invited to form his Government at the Centre, though he was voted out merely 13 days later.

``I told the Governor that I should be given a month's time to prove my majority in the Assembly and I shall do that. After all, majority would have to be proved in the Assembly in any case. And that made submission of the list to the Governor meaningless'', he said.

The Governor later confirmed that he had received Mr. Yadav's claim. He, however, added that there was also the tradition of seeking a list of supporters from those staking the claim and such lists had been submitted in the past. He had pointed this out to the Samajwadi Party leader and asked him to submit his list.

Mr. Shastri said that according to the Constitution, it was the Governor's responsibility to consider a claim on the ground whether the claimant would be able to give a stable government and this fact was supreme in his mind. He would consider Mr. Yadav's claim in this light and also explore other alternatives for the formation of a new government.

He said he would soon hold talks with the leaders of other political parties, including those of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress. He would try to understand the prevailing situation and take a decision as soon as possible.

However, the possibility of imposition of President's rule was also there as the last alternative.

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