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BJP denies UP a government 
By S Ubaidur Rahman

The situation in Uttar Pradesh is again back to square one. The fractured mandate in the assembly elections 2002 has brought the state back to the position where it was in 1997 when the electorate had thrown a fractured mandate with no one in a position to form the government. The state with the largest population in the country seems to be heading towards a blind alley with no solution in sight.

With Samajwadi Party emerging as the single largest party in the state with 145 MLAs in its kitty and the BJP being relegated to the third spot, there was hope that the Samajwadi party would be asked by the governor to form a government in the state and prove its majority in the house within a stipulated period. But the Sangh governor in the saddle in the state ensured that Mulayam Singh Yadav is kept at bay from forming a government by hastily recommending the president's rule in the state on 8 March. He seemed to be committed to thwart any effort in the way of formation of a secular government in the state.

The governor's attempt seems to be a well calculated effort to keep away 'trouble maker' Samajwadi Party from interfering in a family affair (read the Ayodhya issue)when the VHP has been deployed by his party bosses in full capacity. The Governor Vishnu Kant's assertion on 12 March that the Ram sevaks can not be stopped from paying visit to the makeshift temple erected illegally by hoodlums on the Babri Masjid site makes his affiliation clear. VP Singh, the former Prime Minister has come out openly against the governor's attitude in denying Mulayam Singh Yadav the opportunity to form the government. He has been asking the centre to recall the governor Vishnu Kant, who has been behaving like a Sangh functionary in the state. He has consistently been demanding that Mulayam Singh Yadav be allowed to form the government in the state. But the BJP government at the centre seems to be ignoring all such pleas from secular parties. The BJP which has been humiliated in the state by being pushed to the third spot with only 88 seats, ten seats less than the BSP, is not ready to give away the state in any way. 

The governor instead of exploring the possibility of formation of a government till the last minute recommended the central government to impose president rule in the state. Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party general secretary told this correspondent that it was deliberate. He says that the governor has never sincerely tried to seek the possibility of the government formation in the state. He adds that the governor who has been an old RSS pracharak has always opposed the formation of a secular government in the state. 

Experts claim that the Samajwadi Party which had staked claim to form the government in the state after the results were declared should have been given an opportunity to form the government. They also say that the governor would have given SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav a time frame and would have asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the house. They say that the governor's decision to ask the centre to impose the president rule in the state is controversial. It privileges the Raj Bhavan (governor's office) over the floor of the house as the arena of the trial of strength- the site where the majority must be tested and won. 

The sangh governor in the state instead of trying to hoist a government in the state tried to kill every opportunity for the Samajwadi Party to form the government. He has been saying that he will call a party to form the government only if he is convinced that it will give a stable government. The governor and BJP stalwarts at the centre who never tire praising the then Shankar Dayal Sharma, who in May 1996 appointed Vajpayee, Prime Minister for the first time and the BJP government lasted precisely for 13 days, refuse to give SP the same chance as it was given by the then president. All those who had then applauded Mr. Sharma are now denouncing the very concept of the single largest party being given the first chance to form the government.

According to political analysts this all was done to ensure that anyhow a BJP government was hoisted in the state, even if it meant to be aligning with the bitter enemy Bahujan Samaj Party. They say that there is a perception among the BJP leaders that if the SP forms a government in the state all their policies will get reverted. So they are trying their best to ensure that this situation does not arise. They believe that the BSP government with outside support or joint government will keep pressure on the BSP not to reverse any BJP policy. 

The BSP's power hungry leadership too has been giving signals that it is ready to form the government with the BJP's support. Mayawati who sought Muslim's votes on anti-BJP promises is reported to have flown immediately from Lucknow where she was camping to Delhi and met senior BJP leaders on government formation with their help. But it is not a new thing and might have never been far from imagination.

The secular parties are also to be blamed in this game of power. The Congress instead of sending clear message to the governor that it is ready to back the SP in government formation kept on sending confusing signals. It seems that Sonia Gandhi's personal animosity towards Mulayam Singh has played its role in this whole affair too. This personal animosity seems to be the greatest impediment in Congress taking a clear stand on backing the SP.

Muslim leaders who asked Muslims to vote for the BSP despite seeing its past records would do good to think over their ever enthusiastic response to the BSP for offering around 90 seats to Muslims. Mushawarat and Milli Council had asked Muslim voters to vote for the BSP candidates along with the SP and Congress candidates. The 15 Muslims who succeeded on BSP ticket cannot play any role in the formation of secular government in the state. Instead they may only end up helping the BJP in its quest for power. 

The state immediately needs a government in place to face the fervor being built by the Sangh organizations around the country. How a Sangh administration gives a free run to its goondas has already been witnessed in Gujarat that is still burning. With a Sanghi governor in control it is not difficult to imagine as to how he plans to tackle any such situation if these elements are given a free run. His pronouncements give enough indications in this regard. 
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