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Pressure mounts on UPA government

Continuing violence against north Indians in Maharashtra has provoked frentic activities and competing statements among politicians, reports Srinand Jha.Mumbai split wide open

india Updated: Oct 30, 2008 01:12 IST
Srinand Jha

Uttar Pradesh arch rivals have not been emulate the Bihar bigwigs — Railways Minister Lalu Prasad, Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — who demonstrated political sagacity by coming together on the issue of violence against north Indians in Maharashtra.

“Mayawati’s intransigence and huge ego has made it impossible for politicians of Uttar Pradesh to put up the kind of camaraderie that the Bihar leaders have shown, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh conceded at a press conference.

Continuing violence against north Indians in Maharashtra has provoked frentic activities and competing statements among politicians belonging to the two Hindi-speaking states.

After Tuesday’s incident where a migrant from UP, Dharam Dev, was thrashed on a Mumbai local train, Paswan demanded the dismissal of the Vilasrao Deshmukh government and imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra, while Lalu has threatened to suspend train movement “in states where passengers and properties are repeatedly attacked”.

Mayawati asked the Centre and Maharashtra to take immediate action to stop attacks, saying they have “failed” to prevent such incidents.

Compensation amounts have been separately announced to Dev’s next-of-kin. The Railways Minister will give Rs 3 lakh,

UP Chief Minister Mayawati will give Rs 2 lakh and Amar Singh will make a Rs 5 lakh contribution.

The game has also come to involve an element of power play. For example, the SP general secretary said he would have resigned from the Union Cabinet, had he been in Lalu or Paswan’s place; but did not think that withdrawal of support to the UPA government was the right course for the SP to take.

Late on Wednesday evening, Amar Singh held his second press conference of the day to clarify that he had only expressed his personal views and not actually demanded the resignations of Lalu and Paswan.

Rather than shedding “crocodile tears like Maywati”, the SP has directed its volunteers to take to the streets to ensure that peace prevails and the lumpen elements of Raj Thackeray’s “terror outfit” are not able run riot, he said.

Amar Singh warned the Central government that it would have to face the ire of the voters in the coming parliamentary elections if it did not take effective and immediate steps to stop the violence unleashed on north Indians in Maharashtra.

The Railways Minister spoke to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister as well as Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to express serious concerns about the happenings in the state. He requested the Prime Minister to ensure “full security” to north Indians in Maharashtra during the upcoming Chhat festival.