Will he, won’t he?   (09 Mar 1998)



Kesrinath Tripathi, speaker of the Uttar Pradesh assembly, is not likely to disqualify the 17 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs who deserted Mayawati for Kalyan Singh.

Tripathi is expected to go with the Jantantrik BSP leaders argument that at the time of the split the total number was 23, from which Mayawati managed to whisk away 11. However, five of them later escaped from her clutches and, thus, a total of 17 was achieved. The Jantantrik BSP has urged the speaker to consider the case as a split within a split and not disqualify anyone. The speaker, sources confirm, is ready to do that.

Meanwhile, Mayawati has already sought legal action against the rebel MLAs. She has also alleged that the speaker is behaving in an unfair manner. However, she has not submitted any proof in support of her contention and the court may not direct the speaker about the nature of his judgement. So far, it has only asked him to dispose of the case as quickly as possible. In fact, it had not even fixed any deadline.

The anti-defection law gives the speaker enormous powers and his verdict is likely to be final. It can be challenged in the court, true, but the court would take some time to arrive at a judgment.

Meanwhile, according to the speakers office, the hearing is not yet finished. In this situation an early verdict is not possible. Tripathi himself is a leading lawyer of the Allahabad high court, and will no doubt keep all the legal aspects in mind before delivering his verdict. The only option available to Mayawati is to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court.

The drubbing in the Lok Sabha poll has further demoralised the morale of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram. This time, they could get only five seats in the country despite alliances in Punjab, Haryana and Bihar. In UP, where Mayawati was expecting to get around 20 seats, the BSP had to be satisfied with just five. Kanshi Ram, for his part, lost from Saharanpur. Mayawati just about managed to win from Akbarpur.

Everybody knows that Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav can never get along. They may again go in for a poll alliance, but it is inadvisable to do so. The BSP should only join hands with the Congress.

Some rebel BSP leaders, meanwhile, allege that Mayawati masterminded Kanshi Rams defeat from Saharanpur, and that is why she did not offer him the Akbarpur seat which was a much safer one.

From the Lok Sabha results, Mulayam Singh appears to have realised that if he had gone with the Congress he would have got more seats. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party would certainly make a formidable combination in the state. Formidable enough to win the assembly election hands down.