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Congress wont risk antagonising Left: BJP

BJP leaders still think that the Congress would not take the risk of antagonising the CPI(M) on the UP issue, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 00:34 IST

The BJP has repeated its offer to support the Congress-led government in Parliament to approve President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh if it sacked the Mulayam Singh government immediately.

The party thinks that, if the Congress’ intention is to conduct polls under the Central rule, it stands to benefit like the BSP. Senior BJP leaders do not believe that the Congress could actually be toying with the idea of delaying the UP polls rather than holding it as scheduled in May.

At the same time, the BJP leaders still think that the Congress would not take the risk of antagonising the CPI(M) on the UP issue, opening up the possibility of widening rift between the UPA and the Left.

Recalling that the party has been demanding President’s rule for the last eight months, BJP president Rajnath Singh told a press conference on Monday that the Congress lacked ability to bring the state under President's rule because it was not willing to risking the withdrawal of support to the government by Communists.

Singh said, “Otherwise what else can be the reason for not sacking the Samajwadi government after several lapsesin upholding the law and order situation in the state. Can anyone forget for the Nithari killings in Noida?”

He said it was well established that the law and order situation in the state was out of control for at least one-and-a-half years. “The BJP had offered its support to any Bill in Parliament to set things right in the country's biggest state in terms of population. We reiterate that support again. The government has failed to preserve and defend its ‘Constitutional responsibility' and uphold the rule of law in the state.”

Mr Singh said the BJP had taken a delegation to President APJ Abdul Kalam, asking him to urge the Centre to invoke rticle 356 in UP. “The Centre is worried about its own stability and does not want to act.”

Asked if the BJP too was not responsible as its UP unit president Kesri Nath Tripathi was the then Speaker in the Assembly who allowed the Samajwadi Party backed by 'defectors' to ascend to power, Singh denied there was any understanding between his party and the SP.

He said Tripathi was already in the Speaker's post and had demitted his office once the new Speaker was elected. The situation changed once the Supreme Court disqualified the membership of the defecting MLAs.

Singh said the BJP was against misusing Article 356 of the constitution, providing for sacking of an elected government and bringing the state under President's rule for 'political reasons'.

When told about NDA Convenor George Fernandes’ statement opposing the move to bring UP under President's rule, Singh said he was speaking in his 'personal capacity' and there had been no discussion within the NDA on the issue.