Special Correspondent

PATNA: Union Steel Minister and Lok Jan Shakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday accused Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati of indulging in politics of blackmail.

“It doesn’t matter and would not affect the stability of the UPA government,” he said reacting to Ms. Mayawati’s withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

Mr. Paswan would continue in the UPA coalition irrespective of the presence of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, with whose party he would not have any truck in the coming Lok Sabha elections. “Mr. Prasad is not the master of the UPA. At the helm of affairs are Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”

The LJP chief said that there was no question of a tie-up with the BJP and the NDA.

Reservation

He advocated reservation for dalits among the Muslims and Christians, pointing out that such sections among the Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs enjoyed the privilege. “Not extending the same favour to them amounted to discrimination.”

He also favoured 33 per cent reservation for women and expressed concern at the delay in implementing it.