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Cong, SP kept UP pot boiling

GANG WARS, murders, communal flare-up, land scams and a souring political friendship kept Uttar Pradesh?s political cauldron on the boil in 2005. Once allies against communal forces, the Congress and Samajwadi Party kept at each other's throats throughout the year. A combative chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav made several attempts to upstage the Congress-led UPA government.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2005 01:28 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
PTI

GANG WARS, murders, communal flare-up, land scams and a souring political friendship kept Uttar Pradesh’s political cauldron on the boil in 2005.

Once allies against communal forces, the Congress and Samajwadi Party kept at each other's throats throughout the year. A combative chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav made several attempts to upstage the Congress-led UPA government.

The relationship reached a new low with Yadav alleging party general secretary Amar Singh's phones were tapped on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's orders. By the year-end, he had come up with an old, New Year pledge: to forge a “non-Congress” alternative.

The challenge thrown by the Bahujan Samaj Party by slapping an anti-defection case against 40 Samajwadi Party MLAs gave some nervous moments to Mulayam. But with the high court yet to give a ruling, the government survived the storm. What was of concern, however, was the growing disenchantment with the government as the victory of the BSP in two crucial by-elections in Nagal and Aurai proved. Jolted by the cash-for-query (to which it lost three MPs) and MPLAD scams she might be, but Mayawati is already predicting the return of the Dalit outfit. For the BJP it was a year of introspection. The party's efforts to regain lost ground did not work, but Rajnath Singh at the helm could yet bring about a difference.

The state's disturbing culture of violence was on display throughout the year with Mulayam Singh facing tough posers on the criminalisation of the political space in the state. In January, BSP legislator Raju Pal was gunned down along with two of his aides in Allahabad. His supporters blamed Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament Atiq Ahmed for the murder.

A similar script played out in Ghazipur in November with the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. Samajwadi Party MP Afzal Ansari from Ghazipur is in jail on charges of murdering Rai.

For some ganglords, however, the wheel turned full circle. The Supreme Court revived Pota proceedings against former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, dealing a major blow to the Prince of Pratapgarh. The SC also cancelled the bail of another SP MLA Amarmani Tripathi in connection with the murder of Madhumita Shukla.

A spate of PILs gave the state government a tough time. The unceremonious departure of chief secretary Neera Yadav in the Noida land scam rocked the ruling political establishment.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 01:28 IST