BSP withdraws support to UPA government, cites inflation (Lead)

June 21st, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) With an eye on the next Lok Sabha polls that appear more imminent as differences between the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its Left supporters grow, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Saturday withdrew support to the government, citing its failure to curb inflation. “Keeping the interest of the common man and our party in mind, the BSP today (Saturday) withdrew support to the Congress-led government at the centre,” BSP president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati told reporters here.

“The letter to this effect has been sent to the president of India, the Congress president, Lok Sabha speaker and Rajya Sabha chairperson,” she said.

Mayawati cited the central government’s failure to curb the rising inflation as the prime reason for her move and said the government had failed to live up to the expectations of a cross section of people.

Inflation touched a 13-year high of 11.05 percent for the week ended June 7, according to data released Friday.

Other reasons, she said, included the “victimisation” of BSP by the Congress-led government - an oblique reference to the Rs.1.75-billion Taj Heritage corridor scam, in which a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry is on.

Mayawati is an accused in a financial irregularities case in a project to build a mall near the Taj Mahal in Agra during her earlier tenure as chief minister.

She blamed the Congress for tarnishing her party’s image in every way.

Mayawati also mentioned the “step-brotherly treatment” to Uttar Pradesh by the central government. Her government has repeatedly sought a grant of Rs.800 billion for the development of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh.

Another reason behind the BSP decision may be the Congress’ growing proximity with the Samajwadi Party, BSP’s major rival.

For the Congress, the Samajwadi Party with its 37 MPs can act as a saviour in case the Left, opposing the India-US nuclear deal, withdraws support.

The BSP has 17 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Though this withdrawal of support will not affect the government, it will be politically significant as it comes when it is cornered by the Left parties.

Mayawati said that for her both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were on the same footing and she would maintain equi-distance from them.

“In case a no-trust motion against the UPA government is brought in parliament, we will decide on the basis of the issue,” Mayawati said.

The Congress sought to downplay the withdrawal of support.

“She (Mayawati) has been taking such decisions and then dropping out (of them). We will reflect on it and give our assessment of the situation,” said M. Veerappa Moily, head of the Congress media cell. He also pointed out that the government was not in a crisis due to the withdrawal of support by the BSP.

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