Schism evident in Loktantrik Congress
Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Two ministers from the Loktantrik Congress in the Kalyan Singh government today disputed the party leadership's decision to withdraw support to the state government, claiming most of its ministers had reposed faith in the Kalyan Singh government.
Minister of State for Environment Vivek Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hukum Singh told reporters at Kalyan Singh's home that the decision to withdraw support was announced without taking the majority of Loktantrik Congress ministers into confidence.
At least 11 ministers, they said, had disputed the decision and expressed faith in the Kalyan Singh government. The duo claimed most ministers were in their constituencies and would reach Lucknow only later tonight.
Vivek Singh told Rediff On The NeT that Naresh Agarwal, leader of the Loktantrik Congress, had not himself signed the letter of withdrawal and that Chief Minister Jagdambika Pal does not have the support of his party members.
Asked if the Loktantrik party had split, he declined to comment, stating, "As far as I am concerned, I did not get any orders from our high command, Naresh Agarwal, to withdraw the support to Kalyan Singh's government." So, he said, he could not understand how Pal had staked a claim.
Vivek Singh and Hukum Singh claimed that Diwakar Vikram Singh, Harishankar Tewari, Amar Mani Tripathi, Fateh Bahadur Singh, Virendra Singh, Baccha Pathak, Chaudhary Dalbir Singh, Satish Sharma and Laxmi Narain, all ministers, had expressed their faith in the Kalyan Singh government.
The two ministers, who accompanied Kalyan Singh to Raj Bhavan, said they had also communicated this to Governor Romesh Bhandari.
Moreover, they said, all the Loktantrik Congress members whose support Pal claimed were also ministers in the Kalyan Singh government. These ministers should have resigned if support was truly being withdrawn. Only then would clear numbers have been available, the ministers said.
Asked why Naresh Agarwal and Pal had withdrawn support, the two ministers put it down to "overambition".
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