July 04, 2020
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How Many You Have... In The Well?

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How Many You Have... In The Well?
Nitrala Tripathi
How Many You Have... In The Well?
The long-awaited Allahabad HC verdict on the split of 40 BSP MLAs finally came on February 28—and it wasn’t such a bad thing for the Samajwadi Party. The court basically suggested that the split was dubious but left it to the Speaker to take the final decision. The SP promptly called a trust vote the same day and won it—with the BSP rebels defying a party whip and voting in favour of it. But by next morning (Wednesday), the script got complicated: three ministers from this group resigned. That’s when Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey, a nominee of CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, showed his hand. He virtually recognised the rebel BSP MLAs as a bloc, even hinting at action under the anti-defection law "against the deserters".

The three—Jaiveer Singh, Surendra Vikram and Dharam Pal Singh, along with another MLA Ramji Shukla—were planning to rebel against the rebellion. BSP legislature party leader S.P. Maurya claimed many more of the 40 MLAs were poised to "revert back". Perhaps this forced Speaker Pandey’s hand. By Wednesday night, he said the rebels would henceforth function as an independent outfit, Jantantrik Bahujan Dal. Citing the court judgement, Pandey said, "I have decided (their) seating arrangement would remain as before...the application for granting recognition to the outfit is still pending, to be decided as directed by the court."

Earlier, BSP chief Mayawati’s placatory tone to the rebels had had its effect."Our MLAs were gullible and now realise they had lost their way. I am ready to take them back," she had said. But the ‘homecoming’ was thwarted. The coming days should see a lot more flux. In all this, governor T.V. Rajeswar’s hand —and by extension that of the Congress high command—could well be decisive again. Already, state party chief Salman Khursheed has made a trip to Raj Bhavan to question the continuance of "18 MLAs of a different party (BSP) as ministers". Looks like another intrigue-ridden battle is in store in UP.

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