Debating India

UTTAR PRADESH

Mulayam men drift to BSP

Monday 7 August 2006

Kannauj (Uttar Pradesh), Aug. 7: After three years in power with the support of 40 Bahujan Samaj Party defectors, Mulayam Singh Yadav could be approaching payback time.

Samajwadi Party lawmakers in Mulayam’s stronghold of central Uttar Pradesh are queuing at Mayavati’s door to seek tickets for the Assembly polls, due early next year.

The voices of revolt in Kannauj - the turf of Samajwadi icon Ram Manohar Lohia and the nerve centre of the party’s politics for years - have reached a crescendo just months ahead of the elections.

Mulayam’s son Akhilesh is now the MP from Kannauj, and two of its three Assembly segments, Sadar and Umarda, have Samajwadi legislators with only Chhibramau held by the BJP.

In the next Assembly elections, the Samajwadis will lose all three seats in Kannauj,” claims Sadar MLA Kalyan Singh Dohre, an old associate of Mulayam who is believed to have been promised a ticket by Mayavati.

There is no place for true Samajwadis in the party any more. Amar Singh (party general secretary and industrialist) is the man behind snapping netaji’s (Mulayam’s) ties with the masses and getting him closer to actors and industrialists.”

Some others have accused Mulayam of promoting “dynastic rule” and pointed to Amar’s “corrupting influence” on him.

Even Chhote Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi candidate who lost at Chhibramau last time, has sent feelers to Mayavati, BSP sources said. So have many of his party colleagues.

Things are hardly better for Mulayam in Kanpur Dehat, another key district in his central Uttar Pradesh bastion. Almost the entire district falls in Ghatampur parliamentary constituency, now represented by the Samajwadi’s Radheshyam Koeri.

Mulayam’s party holds three of the four Assembly segments - Rajpur, Derapur and Bhognipur - while the BSP legislator from the fourth, Sarvankhera, is among the defectors who joined the Samajwadi government in 2003.

With the exception of Bhognipur MLA Aruna Kumari, the other legislators in the district are openly courting the BSP.

If behenji (Mayavati) gives me a ticket I will join her party. Otherwise, I will contest as an Independent,” says Rajpur MLA Mahesh Trivedi, who is also chairman of the state’s Non-Conventional Energy Development Agency.

Trivedi recently showed how firm his grip is over the Samajwadis’ Kanpur Dehat unit when, despite a directive from Mulayam, not a single leader turned up for a party function at Bhognipur. After this, the chief minister was forced to dissolve the entire district unit.

Trivedi and Derapur MLA Kamlesh Pathak are among Samajwadi legislators who voted for BSP candidates in the recent Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad (legislative council) elections.

Many of our leaders in the district are eager to join the BSP. They are ready to spend any amount of money to win BSP tickets,” a senior Samajwadi leader said on condition of anonymity.

The dissidence has spread across central Uttar Pradesh, with party MLAs Sunder Lal Kuriel (Safipur in Unnao), Omvati (Nagina in Bijnore) and Ratan Lal Ahirwar (Babina in Jhansi), too, speaking out against Mulayam.

To the chief minister’s chagrin, Mayavati has already promised to field most of the rebels in the next state polls.

See online : The Telegraph

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