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Arrangement with BJP only in U.P.: Mayawati

NEW DELHI OCT. 3. Political equations between the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appear good for the present, at least among the leadership of the respective parties.

Notwithstanding reports of perceived differences among the workers and leaders of both parties, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party vice-president, Mayawati, today said the alliance was working well.

At a press conference here, she said the agreement between the parties for an electoral understanding in the next Lok Sabha elections remained in place.

However, it was restricted only to Uttar Pradesh. She refused comment on suggestions emanating from the BJP that it would get a bigger share of the 81 Lok Sabha seats in the State. "We will settle the issue when the elections come. There will be no differences."

She claimed that unlike in the past, the coalition Government in the State was running smoothly now and blamed the then BJP leader, Kalyan Singh, for the souring of relations between the parties. She also complimented the BJP leadership, saying they were "more alert" this time around. "The coalition Government is committed to a common minimum programme, with development and improvement in the law and order situation being priorities''.

Ms. Mayawati disagreed with the view that by aligning with the BJP, the BSP had alienated itself from Muslims. On the contrary, "our party's Muslim candidate defeated the Samajwadi Party's Muslim candidate in the Baheri Assembly by-polls", necessitated by the death of the SP MLA.

The SP had fielded the MLA's widow but failed to retain the seat.

To a question on the decision not to re-issue notification in the Babri Masjid demolition case, she said it was only after perusing the official documents that she had revised her opinion. "When I was out of power, I had relied on newspaper reports and said that my Government would re-issue the notification when it assumes power."

Earlier, Ms. Mayawati met the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar. She handed over the report of an inquiry by the State Government into the recent stampede at Lucknow railway station, in which several BSP activists were killed. She alleged that a last-minute shifting of platforms had resulted in the incident.

Mr. Kumar, on the directions of Mr. Vajpayee, has now ordered a probe into the incident by the Director-General of the Railway Protection Force.

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