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Opposition readies no-confidence
motion against Mayawati govt

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | March 05, 2003 04:31 IST

After putting Chief Minister Mayawati on the defensive, the opposition swiftly decided to move a no-confidence motion against her ten-month old government, denying her time to consolidate her recent gains.

The move followed the arrival of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lucknow and comes a day after it withdrew a similar move against the speaker apparently for want of the required numbers to carry the motion.

Shortly after reaching the state capital, Mulayam promptly convened a meeting of leaders of all opposition parties at his residence.

Within minutes, a draft of a no-confidence motion was ready to be signed by representatives of all opposition parties.

In the absence of Speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi, who was stated to have gone out of town to attend the wedding of a legislator's daughter, the notice was handed over to principal secretary of the state assembly R P Pandey at his residence.

Meanwhile, Mayawati has already initiated damage control measures. To begin with, she accused Mulayam of 'misusing the chief minister's discretionary fund' during his second stint in office and ordered a probe into the matter.

At the same time, anticipating trouble in the assembly on Wednesday, she got the motion for vote on account tabled in the house towards the conclusion of Tuesday's proceedings and is gearing up to get it passed first thing when the house convenes on Wednesday morning.

Fears that the house may be adjourned sine die thereafter prompted the opposition's decision to move a no-confidence at the first given opportunity. Once the session is adjourned, the opposition will be unable to raise the issue of Mayawati's style of collecting funds for the party in the assembly.

The opposition has sought a two-day discussion on the motion, which it hopes will come up before the house on Wednesday.

To counter the opposition's offensive, the chief minister is believed to have ordered a crackdown on some SP MLAs as well as the disgruntled elements in the BJP, which has been the worst hit by dissidence.

Mayawati wants to prevent the Samajwadi Party from wooing dissidents in the ranks of the ruling coalition, comprising the BSP, BJP and the RLD along with some smaller parties and independents.

In the event of the no-confidence motion being taken up for discussion, followed by voting, these dissidents could cause a lot of trouble to the ruling coalition.

Policemen have been deployed in strength in the state capital, particularly around Mulayam's residence and the Samajwadi Party state headquarters.

Vehicles passing anywhere close to Mulayam's residence or office are being checked since 2300 IST.

"We are working on intelligence reports that some people are moving around with cash and arms," a senior police officer told rediff.com

Meanwhile, BJP legislative party leader and Urban Development Minister Lalji Tandon told reporters in Lucknow that the governor would ascertain the authenticity of the tape before taking any further action on the opposition's charge.

In another development, BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan said, "Other parties have no right to speak about how Mayawati is running her party or collecting funds for the organisation."

It is for the people to decide about it, he added.

When pointed out that the BSP leader had reportedly sought money from the local area development fund of the elected representatives, Mahajan refused to comment saying the veracity of the cassette, which allegedly shows Mayawati seeking a 'cut' from the funds, is yet to be established.

With inputs from PTI

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