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'SP offered my MP Rs 15 cr to vote for UPA'

Krishnakumar P | July 18, 2008 18:54 IST

As the race to pouch Independents and single-member parties heats up ahead of the July 22 trust vote of the United Progressive Alliance government, Uttar Pradesh-based National Loktantrik Party on Friday alleged that a senior Samajwadi Party leader called his party MP and offered him Rs 15 crore to vote in favour of the government and threatened the party and the member with dire consequences if he does not do so.

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"On July 16, we had a press conference to declare that our party MP Baleshwar Yadav will vote against the government. After the conference, at 10.30 pm, a man walked in to meet the MP and handed him a cell phone saying a senior Samajwadi MP wanted to speak to him.

"SP leader Parsavnath Yadav, who was on the line, asked the MP to take Rs 15 crore and vote for the government," NLP President Arshad Khan claimed in New Delhi.

I was offered Rs 25 crore: Rebel MP

Khan said his party, which had been lending outside support to the United Progressive Alliance, had decided to vote against the government as it was opposed to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

"The government never bothered to reach out to smaller parties like us to clear our doubts. In such a scenario, we see the deal as one that will make India a subordinate ally of the United States. We can't allow India to be subservient to US and Israeli interests," Khan said.

He said the UPA, instead of taking smaller parties like his into confidence, has turned the Samajwadi Party on to him.

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"Either Sonia Gandhi [Images] or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] could have approached us to get our support. But they are not interested in that approach. They, instead think Mulayam Singh Yadav will do the trick for them and has turned him on us. That shows to what level the UPA can stoop," Khan said.

Unbelievable as it may sound, after the SP submitted a fresh letter of support to President Pratibha Patil [Images] on July 9, Mulayam Singh Yadav had said that the NLP lawmaker will vote with the SP.

"Baleshwar Yadav is basically of Samajwadi Party origin," Singh had said.

'It has become like a game of the mafia now'

Baleshwar Yadav was with the SP before he switched to the NLP and won his seat from the Padrauna constituency.

Asked whether he had the confidence of his MP, Khan was evasive.

"Last week, Baleshwar said he will vote against the government in a handwritten letter to me. The last I spoke to him on the phone, he maintained his stand. Why should I keep asking him constantly? I have issued a whip to vote against the government. He will face the consequences if he ignores the whip. And then we will go to the people with the facts of how the SP has played this game with us," Khan said.

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Baleshwar Yadav, who is now is Lucknow, is incommunicado.

Khan, however, leaves scope for the UPA to right the perceived wrong.

"If the UPA approaches us and satisfies our conditions, we will reconsider our decision," he said.

His conditions are:

  1. Implementation of the Rangnath Mishra Commission that went into the status of minorities
  2. Allocate 9 per cent of the 27 per cent OBC reservations to minorities
  3. Provide reservation for Dalit converts. 

Though he knows the UPA might not agree to these conditions and that he might well lose his MP to Mulayam's might, the July 22 controversy is just the latest episode in the running battle he has had with the SP.

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His is a party launched 14 years ago and he has nurtured it in an environment where there is no Muslim political party to cater to Uttar Pradesh's large Muslim population. He has had to always fight the obstacles that the Congress, SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party have thrown in his way.

"In these 14 years I have run this party, it has progressively grown. In recent years, we began having electoral success," he said.

The party has so far seen 11 municipal chairmen, one legislator and one parliamentarian come through its ranks.

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Observers say it is developing into a formidable power in UP where Muslims have so far been seen only as vote banks. They say this is the party that might politically empower them. Khan also claims Hindu-Muslim unity is a key ideology and points to his MP and MLA, both Hindus.

"Mulayam, when he came to power in UP the last time, tried to break my party. He was unsuccessful but he succeeded in poaching my MLA," Khan said.

Is an MP's loyalty worth only Rs 25 crore?

So, the SP move, which is a short-term attack as well as a roadblock in the run up to the next general election, has doubly angered Khan.

Asked one last time how his MP would vote, he said: "An MP is like a child. His party is mother and the party president -- in this case me -- is his political father. I have told my child what he has to do. Let Mulayam take care of his children. Let him not mess with my children."






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