While the Uttar Pradesh Raj Bhavan is tight-lipped on the issue, highly placed sources confirmed in Lucknow on Saturday that Governor TV Rajeshwar had formally recommended the imposition of President's rule in the state.
Chief Minister Mulayam Singh has, however, reiterated that "any move to dismiss my government would be unconstitutional as we have not only repeatedly won the vote of confidence on the floor of the state assembly but we are willing to prove it once again when the state assembly meets on February 26."
A report has been sent by Rajeshwar to central Home Minister Shivraj Patil through a special envoy flown from here to Delhi early on Saturday, the sources said.
The governor's report follows Thursday's Supreme Court verdict disqualifying 13 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) defectors and putting a question mark on 24 others with whose support Mulayam Singh had cobbled up a majority to win a vote of confidence shortly after forming his government in 2003.
The sources said the governor prepared his report in the wake of demands by opposition leaders to dismiss the 41-month old Mulayam Singh government.
BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra had argued that since the apex court had disqualified the 13 defectors with retrospect from August 28, 2003, the very constitution of the government was illegal from day one.
A highly placed source said, "Misra had a long meeting with Rajeshwar on Friday; prior to that Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Salman Khurshid too remained closeted with him for nearly an hour."
A constitutional lawyer and former state advocate general in the Mayawati government, Misra had argued the BSP case in both high court as well as the Supreme Court.
The governor also had a long telephonic discussion with Home Minister Patil before sending his report to the Centre, the sources said.
However, according to sources close to Mulayam Singh, he will not step down on "moral grounds" but will wait for the Centre's next move.
With that the scene naturally shifts to New Delhi where Congress leaders are believed to be busy making efforts to convince allies to enable the United Progressive Alliance government to take the governor's recommendation forward.