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SP parades 29 rebel MLAs, claims support of 33

Written by: Staff

Lucknow, Mar 2 (UNI) The Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh, under fire from opposition following the Allahabad High Court verdict in the 40 rebel BSP MLAs case and subsequent resignation of five MLAs, today carried out a damage control exercise, parading 29 of the 40 legislators before the media.

Samajwadi Party General Secretary and State PWD Minister Shiv Pal Singh Yadav, in a hurriedly called press conference here, paraded 29 MLAs from the group of 40, while claiming overall support of 33 MLAs.''Our government is firmly in its saddle and there is no danger to it,'' Mr Yadav said while coming out to counter anti-government rhetroics from various quarters.

Claiming support of 33 MLAs from the BSP rebel group who had joined it in September, 2003, he said ''While 29 are present before you, four others Kutubddin Ansari, Virendra Bundela and Nawab Kazim Ali, Amaramani Tripathi have already exprssed their willingess to continue with us.'' Mr Yadav claimed that while Mr Ansari was busy with a marriage in the family, Mr Bundela was indisposed. ''Nawab Kazim Ali is out of town and Amarmani is in jail,'' he added.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh revenue minister Ambika Chowdhary has filed a writ petition before the Speaker, seeking disqualification of the five MLAs, who yesterday and today expressed willingness to rejoin the BSP.

In another related development, the Uttar Pradesh government today directed ADG (Security) of state police to review the security arrangements of the four MLAs, including two ministers, who quit SP yesterday and alleged to their life from the ruling party at their meeting yesterday with Governor T V Rajeswar.

While 40 MLAs from BSP had merged with SP in September, 2003, five of them met the Governor yesterday and today, and expressed willingess to rejoin their old party. Two of the 40 MLAs Udaybhan Singh and Ram Bhual Nishad have since been disqualified from house membership. While Singh was convicted in a murder case, Nishad was found guilty in a poll-related case.

The SP leadership claimed that the five MLAs -- including two ministers Surendra Vikram Singh and Jaiveer Singh, Dharam Pal Singh heading UP State Poultry and Livestock Corporation, Ramji Shukla and Ram Krishna, heading UP Development Systems Corporation (UPDESCO) -- would be served with notices seeking their disqualification from the Assembly.

These five had met the Governor yesterday and today and handed him letter expressing their willingness to join back the BSP, their original party, they had left in 2003.

After the matter was remanded back to him by the HC, Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had said that the MLAs who had met Governor might be disqualified from the Assembly, ''as February 28 Allahabad High Court order in the rebel MLA case had recognised the group as Loktantrik Bahujan Dal (LBD).'' MORE UNI TEAM-SB LR PM2223

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