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Mayawati suspends 7 MLAs for rebelling

The former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh said her party will vote for BJP or any other party’s candidate to ensure defeat of SP candidates.

October 29, 2020 05:40 pm | Updated October 30, 2020 12:12 am IST - New Delhi:

Mayawati. File

Mayawati. File

Accusing the Samajwadi Party (SP) of trying to break away her MLAs, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Thursday vowed to ensure the defeat of the SP candidate in the MLC polls in Uttar Pradesh, even if it meant that her party legislators would have to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The new phase of acrimony between the two parties comes a year after they contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election together.

Also read: Six BSP MLAs rebel in U.P., may leave party

The BSP chief also suspended seven of her MLAs — more than a third of her total strength in the Assembly — for their alleged rebellion in withdrawing support to her Rajya Sabha candidate Ramji Gautam’s nomination and their alleged meeting with Akhilesh Yadav. She said she also regretted forming an alliance with the SP in 2019 and withdrawing the case in the 1995 guest house attack, calling them both “wrong decisions” hastily taken.

In a “tit for tat” for breaking away her MLAs and trying to get the nomination of BSP’s Rajya Sabha candidate rejected, Ms. Mayawati said that she would use all her force to ensure the defeat of the second candidate the SP would field in the MLC polls.

The BSP would ensure the SP’s defeat “even if our MLAs have to vote for a candidate of the BJP or any other party,” she said.

Also read: Samajwadi Party adds prominent members ahead of U.P. by-polls

The seven suspended BSP MLAs are Chaudhary Aslam Ali, Hargovind Bhargav, Mohammad Mujtaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind, Mohammad Aslam Raini, Sushma Patel and Vandana Singh. Four of them who had proposed the name of the BSP candidate for the RS polls withdrew support and claimed that their signatures had been forged. 

The BSP had fielded Mr. Gautam even though it does not have enough numbers in the Assembly to ensure his win but was banking on the support of the other parties and possibly the BJP, which had announced eight candidates, as alleged by the SP. 

The SP re-nominated Ram Gopal Yadav. The elections are being held for 10 seats.

The confrontation was set after an 11th candidate, Prakash Bajaj, an independent and industrialist allegedly backed by the SP, also filed his nomination at the last moment, which was perceived to be a move by the SP to thwart the BSP candidate’s chances. But his papers were rejected, while Mr. Gautam’s were accepted. 

Ms. Mayawati said the “anti-Dalit” face of the SP was exposed by the episode — the BSP candidate is a Dalit — and dismissed the allegations that she was in collusion with the BJP.

Ms. Mayawati justified fielding a candidate despite not having the required numbers in the house of 403, saying that she took the step after SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav informed her colleague S.C. Mishra that the SP would not be fielding a second candidate.

Comment | Mayawati's blurred political vision

Abhishek Mishra, SP secretary, shot back at Ms. Mayawati and said that her comments about ensuring the defeat of the SP in the MLC polls with BJP support “proves she was working as a BJP B team”. Mr. Mishra also reminded Ms. Mayawati, who accused the SP of letting down the alliance in 2019, that it was only because of his party that “the party [BSP] that had zero seats got 10 seats”.

Curiously, though the seven suspended BSP MLAs spoke against the BSP coordinators, they did not react adversely to Ms. Mayawati herself and claimed they had no plans of joining any other party. “We are not going to any other party. We will continue to remain in the party. We welcome the decision of the supremo. It is her prerogative,” said MLA Aslam Raini.

Barring one, Sushma Patel of Jaunpur, the others dismissed reports of them meeting Akhilesh Yadav amid speculation that they would shift loyalties.

Ms. Patel said she had no intention of rebelling against the BSP. “In politics, meeting someone is not a crime. I was not involved in any cross voting nor violated any whip,” she told a TV channel.

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