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Home > News > Report

CBI probe linked to UP crisis

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | August 25, 2003 18:09 IST
Last Updated: August 25, 2003 18:17 IST

Political observers in Lucknow believe the Central Bureau of Investigation probe intothe Rs 1.75 billion Taj Heritage Corridorcontroversycouldhave triggeredUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's parting of ways with her coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In her letter toGovernor Vishnukant Shastri, Mayawatiblamed a conspiracy betweensomeOpposition members and the BJP for the political crisis currently afflicting India's most populous state.

These sentiments wereechoedin her long letter addressed to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayeethat she read out during her two hour-long address to150,000Bahujan Samaj Party workers whoconverged in Lucknowfrom different corners of the country for a BSP convention at the sprawling 25-acre Ambedkar Maidan.

Speculation was rife that Mayawati tookthestep after senior BJP leaders in New Delhi apparentlyexpressed inability to bailher out ofthe Taj corridor controversy. CBI agentsquestionedstate minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui for nearlyfive hours on Sunday.

After announcing her decision to resign at astate cabinet meeting on Mondaymorning, Mayawaticalled on Governor Shastri, seeking dissolution of the state assembly to be followed by a fresh election. She was, however, beaten in the race to Raj Bhavan, the governor's home,by BJP leader Lalji Tandonwho gaveShastria letterwithdrawingsupport to the 18-month-old Mayawati-led BSP-BJP coalition government. But the chief minister hadthe last word,declaring, "I have not resigned nor do I have any inclination to step down."

Shastri isin a quandary aboutthe Mayawatigovernment's fate, only saying, "I am getting all the issues examined by Constitutional experts." The governor would onlyconfirmthat Tandon handed over the BJP'sletter of withdrawal of supportbefore Mayawati arrivedat Raj Bhavan to demanddissolution of the state assembly and a mid-term election.

'They are indulging in horse-trading through offers of all kinds of allurements.The only way to check this dirty and petty politics is dissolution of the state assemblyso that a fresh mandate of the people could be sought,' Mayawati stated in her letter to the governor.

"Until she is formally dismissed by the governor," oneConstitutional expert told this correspondent,"Mayawati continues to remain chief minister."

PTI adds: Expressing apprehension about a possible "BJP design to harass her" in the Taj Heritage Corridor case by "misusing" the CBI, the chief minister said, "now, the BJP will not sit quietly and may take some action to harass me in the case."

"The BJP could go to any extent and there could even be an attempt to eliminate me," Mayawati said.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in "pressure politics," she claimed she had authentic information that theparty was trying to bargain for maximum seats in the next Lok Sabha election by using the Taj Heritage Corridor inquiry."There was a concerted effort onpart of the BJP leadership to tarnish my image in theproject as has been proved by the contention of Union Tourism Minister Jagmohan who had clearly indicated that my government was solely responsible for it," she said.

Mayawati said she had decided to snap ties with the BJP the day she had withdrawn the demand for Jagmohan's resignation, butwaited only to givefinal shape toprojects connected with Dalit emancipation which were inaugurated by her on Sunday.

More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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