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Home > News > PTI

UP poll schedule long: Mulayam

February 21, 2007 20:39 IST
Last Updated: February 21, 2007 20:40 IST

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said the schedule of assembly polls in the state is "definitely long" which would pose problems for political parties, officials as also the voters.

"It is true that staggering the polls in seven phases will pose some problems for the parties, officials as also the electorate", Yadav said when asked to comment on the poll schedule announced by the Election Commission in Delhi.

On apprehensions expressed by opposition parties that free and fair elections were not possible under his government, Yadav said had it been so, BJP would not have bagged eight of the 12 Mayoral seats in recent civic bodies elections in the state in which Congress had also won three seats.

He rubbished allegations that the law and order situation in the state had worsened during his regime and alleged it was part of a disinformation campaign launched by Congress and BJP.

Yadav said the Congress was nowehere in the state and was trying to piggyback the Governor to come to power.

Leader of the opposition Lalji Tandon welcomed the announcement of the poll dates but reiterated his party's demand that President's rule be imposed in the state to ensure free and fair polls. "We doubt if free and fair elections can be held under Yadav's regime", he said.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said by staggering the polls in seven phases, the EC has in a way conveyed that the law and order situation in the state is bad.

BJP's Reaction

The BJP, which had been persistently demanding imposition of the President's rule in Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday welcomed the announcement of Assembly elections for the key state.

"We welcome it," BJP chief Rajnath Singh told reporters after a party meeting at former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's residence in New Delhi.

"Our stand is the same as before," he said when asked whether his party would seek the use of Article 356 in Uttar Pradesh after the announcement of the election schedule. Two days after Singh threw his weight behind the Congress for the President's rule in Uttar Pradesh, his party added conditions to his pledged support earlier on Wednesday, saying it would not accept delay in the Assembly elections.

"The BJP will strongly oppose any design of the Congress to usurp power in Uttar Pradesh through the instrument of the President's rule and then prolong it," party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

The BJP's stand over Article 356, however, is at variance with its allies Shiromani Akali Dal and the Biju Janata Dal, which oppose imposition of the President's rule in states.

In his comments after the poll announcement, senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra said his party was prepared to face the elections.

He also spoke about issues the BJP planned to raise in Parliament in the upcoming budget session. "We will seek discussion on price rise, internal security, especially in the light of the Samjhauta train attack, and on the recent events in Assam among other issues," Malhotra said.

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