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HVK Archives: Warlords have their day in Kalyan's team

Warlords have their day in Kalyan's team - The Economic Times

P R Ramesh ()
28 October 1997

Title: Warlords have their day in Kalyan's team
Author: P R Ramesh
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: October 28, 1997

THE Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh today became a
five-member coalition when its leadership, winking at its claim of being
distinct, succumbed to the pressure to reward those who split their parties
last Tuesday to support Mr Kalyan Singh.

The party, which capitulated before the considerations of running an
arrangement with defectors, also gave a go-by to its professed concern for
the recommendations of Administrative Reforms Commission and accommodated
70 new ministers taking the total number of the UP ministry to 93. It may
be recalled that the ARC had suggested that only one-tenth of the members
of the lower house should be made ministers.

The development has been prompted by two reasons. For one, the leadership,
in its anxiety to cobble a majority had promised ministership to virtually
every member who had defected to the party. Although the party has deftly
denied allegations of underhand deals, it is an open secret that it was the
loaves and fishes of office that had prompted the legislators to cross floor.

For another, the BJP's inability to keep its new-found allies in good
humour can upset the applecart. With its rival Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav
waiting for the contradictions with the BJP arrangement to show up, any
feeling of discontent holds the potential of Mr Singh losing the majority
support.

The leadership will have to do a lot of explaining about the composition of
the Kalyan Singh ministry as it includes notorious criminals and feared
warlords like Hari Shankar Tiwari and Raghu Raj Pratap Singh of Kunda. Both
these new ministers were the target of the party's sustained campaign
against criminalisation of politics and were on the run during Mr Kalyan
Singh's earlier tenure.

"The theme song of all party campaigns, including the recently concluded
political odyssey of Mr L K Advani was probity. The action of the BJP has
kicked the bottom of the slogan," conceded a BJP leader.

The development, no doubt, has exposed the BJP to a fresh attack from its
rivals and is sure to take away a lot from the goodwill generated when the
party's government was sought to be dismissed through unconstitutional
means. "Till this evening Mr Kalyan Singh was seen by the public as one
fighting for the constitutional right of a political party. For the fellow
travellers, he was someone who could stand up to the pressure tactics of a
pressure group - the BJP. But the expansion of his ministry win be seen as
an exercise to hold on to power," said a party leader.

This assessment is not off the mark as there is a real fear within the
party about the stability of the new arrangement. With the party accepting
the claims of the entire bunch of defectors from the Congress, the BSP,
Janata Dal and the group of independents, the party will now be dealing
with 'four BSPs'. For the party, which had to mediate only with the BSP
supremo Mr Kanshi Ram till recently, will now have to deal with 45 MLAs who
accountable only to their personal interests.

There are already doubts whether the new Kalyan ministry will be able to
cope up with a united opposition. Although the SP and the BSP is yet to
come together, the party would find it difficult to withstand their onslaught.

The party leadership, which is reconciled to a loss of face, is now pinning
their hopes on 'help' from Mulayam Singh Yadavs strategy as well as its
support among the upper castes as well as the backwards.

The Samajwadi Party leader, who is trying to consolidate his Muslim support
base, has announced an agitation against the TADA from mid-November.


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