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UTTAR PRADESH

Cong. hints at backing Samajwadi Party in U.P.

Wednesday 1 January 2003, by ANSARI*Javed M.

NEW DELHI DEC. 31: In a significant development, the Congress today hinted at supporting the Samajwadi party in its efforts to form an alternative Government in Uttar Pradesh. ``In case the Mayawati Government falls, we will not be found wanting in the formation of an alternative secular government,’’ said Motilal Vora, AICC general secretary incharge of the State.

The latest Congress move is aimed not only at dispelling the ambiguity surrounding its position vis-a-vis the Mayawati Government but also address the concern expressed by the party MLAs about the possibility of a mid-term poll.

The Samajwadi Party is the single largest group in the U.P. Assembly and, though supported by an assortment of parties, it is still short of the numbers needed to reach the majority mark. Its attempts to dislodge the Mayawati Government in the past proved futile and it needs the support of the Congress to reach the magic number to form the Government.

During their interaction with Ms. Gandhi some time ago, the Congress MLAs in U.P. expressed their fears about a mid-term poll. While promising to abide by whatever decision was taken by the leadership with regard to the Mayawati Government, they also reportedly urged the high command to ensure that they were not forced to face another election in the near-future.

The firming up of the Congress’ position in U.P. also comes in the wake of Ms. Mayawati’s attempts to break the party, and her bid to ride roughshod over it on the Amethi issue. Apparently rattled by the visit of Priyanka Gandhi to Amethi, Ms. Mayawati had ordered the renaming of the district.

The Congress had attracted flak following its decision to abstain from voting in the U.P. Legislative Council elections. However, those charged with the responsibility of looking after the party’s affairs in U.P. maintain that the latest position is in keeping with the consistent position adopted by the leadership on the issue of supporting an alternative Government.

Mr. Vora said that the party had always said that while it would not be associated with any move to topple the State Government it would lend support to a secular formation when it came to the formation of an alternative Government.

See online : The Hindu

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