Maya`s olive branch to Congress on Uttarakhand

Uttar Pradesh`s outgoing chief minister Mayawati has decided to extend "unconditional support" to the Congress in Uttarakhand.

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2012, 13:20 PM IST

Lucknow: In keeping with her image of springing surprises, Uttar Pradesh`s outgoing chief minister Mayawati has decided to extend "unconditional support" to the Congress in Uttarakhand as the latter looks for fresh partners in its bid to form the government in the hill state.
A missive with regard to the "changed stance" was conveyed to the three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators in Haridwar late Sunday following which they communicated the decision to the Congress leadership in Uttarakhand.
While the party maintained that "Behenji`s resolve to stop communal forces from regaining power in the hill state" was the reason behind this politically significant move, party insiders concede that this was "the beginning of a fresh political alignment at the centre".

With BSP`s support now, the Congress, which has 32 MLAs of its own and the support of three Independents and one Uttarakhand Kranti Dal member, will get absolute majority in the 70-member state assembly.

After a crushing defeat for the BSP at the hands of arch rival Samajwadi Party (SP) in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, many see this as a desperate yet calculated move by the Dalit leader to position herself in national politics.

"With the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) on trail of many in the BSP leadership with regards to the NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) and MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scam during her tenure, the olive branch for the Congress is a necessity for Mayawati to remain politically alive," said a political observer.

Leaders in the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said there was nothing new in the BSP supporting the Congress.

"We have been saying this all through and have been fighting it," SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhary told a news agency.

Referring to it as the Haath-Haathi combination (Hand being the symbol of Congress and the Elephant that of BSP), Chowdhary, a close confidant of chief minister-designate Akhilesh Yadav, further added that the move had only exposed the BSP-Congress nexus.

BJP`s Rajya Sabha member Kalraj Mishra, reacting on similar lines, said both BSP and Congress have become irrelevant in Uttar Pradesh politics with just 80 and 28 seats in the 403-member house and are set to look for fresh equations ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

IANS