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BSP suspends MLA for dissidence

Lucknow Nov. 7. Ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh suspended one of its MLAs for raising the banner of revolt even as Lalji Tandon made a conditional offer to step down as the BJP Legislature Party leader to meet a main demand of the party rebels.

The BSP MLA, Jai Prakash Yadav, revolted against the party leader and Chief Minister, Mayawati, accusing her of functioning in a "dictatorial" manner and was promptly suspended from the party. Besides, police have filed two cases against him.

Mr. Yadav aired his views to the Governor, Vishnu Kant Shastri, whom he met along with the rebel BJP legislator, Ravindra Pundir. In a memorandum to the Governor, he demanded the convening of a special session of the Assembly for a trial of strength for the Mayawati Ministry and alleged he was being "victimised" by the Government for raising the banner of revolt.

Mr. Yadav said resentment was brewing in the BSP and Mr. Pundir claimed that about 50 BSP MLAs were "fed up" with Ms. Mayawati's leadership and were ready to join rebel ranks.

Later talking to newspersons, he said a case was filed against him at the Gola police station after he reached late at a BSP meeting convened by Ms. Mayawati recently.

"The Chief Minister got angry with me as I reached late at the meeting and a fake case was filed against me at her behest," he said.

Mr. Yadav said that although the Governor had not given him any assurance, he had conveyed to him that the present Government was working in an "undemocratic and unconstitutional manner and victimising all those expressing their views against it".

Interestingly, the rebel BSP legislator and the BJP dissident were accompanied to the Raj Bhavan by Samajwadi Party workers and at least one legislator, but they did not go inside to meet the Governor.

No dissidence: Mayawati

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in New Delhi, Ms. Mayawati denied there was any dissidence in the BSP and said cases were filed against Mr. Yadav following complaints from people in his constituency that he had held out physical threats.

"It is true that Mr. Yadav has joined the BJP rebels... But my Government would not spare anyone, including party MLA or MPs, if they indulge in unlawful activities,'' she said.

She said she had received complaints against Mr. Yadav from various sections following which FIRs were filed against him.

"To save himself from arrest, Mr. Yadav is now trying to associate himself with rebels.''

On the candidature for the Rajya Sabha seat which fell vacant following the resignation of T.N. Chaturvedi, she said it was a BJP seat and her party would extend support to any candidate fielded by the coalition partner.

Striking a conciliatory tone, Mr. Tandon offered to resign from the post of leader of the BJP legislature party provided the rebel legislators dropped their other demands and returned to the party fold. "I have no craze for any post, be it the leader of the legislature party or any ministerial berth in the Government. If my stepping down can save the party from the on-going stand-off, I would be too happy to quit."

High command will decide: Katiyar

The Uttar Pradesh BJP chief, Vinay Katiyar, said it was up to the party high command to decide about the demand of dissident party legislators for removal of Mr. Tandon and the State leadership would be guided by the same.

Reacting to Mr. Tandon's offer to resign, he said "we are not in a position to take any such decision unless directed by the central leadership in the prevailing situation".

Rebels to field candidate

The BJP dissidents would put up a candidate for the November 18 Rajya Sabha polls and the name would be announced tomorrow, the jailed rebel independent MLA, Dhananjay Singh, said in Farrukhabad. He made the announcement after a 30-minute meeting with the Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and the general secretary, Amar Singh. — PTI

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