Communal riot add to Mulayam-Akhilesh's headache



Lucknow: Already faced with failing law and order in many parts of Uttar Pradesh, Mathura's communal riot has added to the growing headaches for the two-month-old Akhilesh Yadav government.

Put on the mat in the state assembly by opposition parties over rising incidents of crime, the Samajwadi Party government faces its toughest challenge following the communal flare-up in Mathura Friday.

While Uttar Pradesh has been witness to harrowing riots in the past, the state was by and large peaceful during the five-year Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regin.

The Hindu-Muslim clash in Mathura, although localized, left two people dead and several injured. It has cornered the government and its officials like never before.

Some officials fear that a repeat of such incidents could seriously jeopardize the 'iqbaal' (power) of the Akhilesh Yadav government.

"This is serious and the government seems to be faltering," said one official known for his proximity to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"Communal violence was unheard off in the past five years," he added.

The ruling party is worried as the budget session of the state assembly is underway and the opposition parties are likely to tear into it when the house meets Monday.

BSP leaders say that party leader and former chief minister Mayawati had already communicated her strong desire to party colleagues and legislators to up the ante against the government.

She has directed them to take a "head on collision course" with the ruling dispensation over the communal violence in Mathura.

"We have been saying all through that this government is a failure from day one," BSP house leader Swami Prasad Maurya told a news agency.

Senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari accused the government of mishandling the Friday riots.

"Had the government reacted in time, this unfortunate incident would not have happened," Tiwari told a news agency.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kalraj Mishra too is upset by the communal outbreak and says the state government seems to be faltering.

Samajwadi Party leaders including the chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav and PWD minister Shivpal Yadav met Saturday afternoon and took stock of the situation in Mathura.

Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister Mohd Azam Khan has been asked to oversee the spillover of the communal situation.

Senior police officers blame the government for the mess, saying frequent transfers and then cancellation of the transfer orders had hit the morale of the force.

In the last 75 days of his rule, Akhilesh Yadav has transferred more than 3,000 IAS, IPS, PPS and PCS officials.

Other than this, a former IPS officer rued, loyalty to the ruling party was being given preference over experience.

IANS