BJP-BSP government in UP to be sworn in on Friday
Uttar Pradesh Governor Romesh Bhandari has accepted the
Bharatiya Janata Party-Bahujan Samaj Party's
claim to form a coalition government in the state.
BSP leader Mayawati will be sworn in as the state's chief minister
on Friday. This will be her second stint in office. Mayawati became
chief minister briefly in May 1995, with the BJP's support from outside.
However, her government fell four months later when the BJP withdrew
According to BJP president Lal Kishinchand Advani, who met Bhandari
along with senior party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BSP supremo
Kanshi Ram and Mayawati, the governor assured them that
he would initiate the process of revoking the 17-month-old President's
rule in the country's most populous state. Parliament extended
President's Rule in UP for another six months earlier this week.
Mayawati's government will have equal participation
of both parties though the assembly speaker will be a BJP candidate.
Mayawati will head the coalition for the first six months while
the BJP's Kalyan Singh -- the state's chief minister when the Babri Masjid in
Ayodhya was demolished --
will take over for the next six months.
This arrangement will be reviewed after a year. The
state government's functioning will be periodically reviewed
by a panel consisting
of Advani, Kanshi Ram and Vajpayee.
''After a five month stalemate, some way had to be
found out and this is the best way to break the impasse,''
Kanshi Ram told reporters.
Advani added that his party's alliance with the Akali Dal in Punjab
had inspired the BJP to forge a coalition in UP.
''We hope this sort of understanding will extend to other states
as well,'' the BJP president said.
The swift turn of events followed Kalyan Singh's offer to
form a coalition government with the BSP. It
was Kalyan Singh who had consistently
opposed an alliance with the BSP, pointing out to
the BJP leadership that such an arrangement would
undermine the party's vote bank.
During the prolonged dialogue among the leaders of both parties,
the idea for an ''alternate''
chief minister was mooted. The arrangement was finally approved on Tuesday night
at a meeting at Vajyayee's home
where Advani and Kalyan Singh
The BSP's decision to align with the the BJP will leave the Congress
with much mud on its face. Kanshi Ram's party was,
after all, the Congress's ally for the September 1996 state
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