Sunday, May 25, 2003
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By K.V. Prasad
The former Union Agriculture Minister, Ajit Singh, with his party MLAs at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
A day after his resignation as the Union Agriculture Minister, Ajit Singh, convened an emergency meeting of his 13 MLAs here which was attended by all except one, where it was decided that all the five Ministers Anuradha Chaudhary, Babu Lal, Rokab Hamid, Tejpal Singh and Swami Omvesh would hand over their resignations to the party chief.
Addressing a press conference at his residence, Mr. Ajit Singh said the decision on continuation of support to the Uttar Pradesh Government would be taken after a meeting of the party office-bearers in the next few days.
However, reports from Lucknow suggest that withdrawal of support to the Mayawati Government was a foregone conclusion.
"In Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party has an agreement with the (BJP-led) alliance, if the alliance breaks there would be repercussions," Mr. Singh said.
He asserted that the Prime Minister had not asked him to put in his papers. On the contrary, he had sent in word that he would prefer to resign, if he had to be shifted to another Ministry.
Reacting to reports that it was the criticism of Government policies that went against him, Mr. Singh said "not once" was he told by anyone about it. As regards his support for a separate Telengana, he said he had even in the Lok Sabha spoken in its favour.
On its part, the RLD has been demanding the creation of a separate Harit Pradesh, to be carved out from western Uttar Pradesh.
The former Agriculture Minister said the Government was "anti-farmer" and that he had exhausted all options of taking up their cause from within. He said the Vajpayee Government gave funds to bail out the Unit Trust of India and the Industrial Development Bank of India, but did not do enough to help drought-hit farmers.
While being in the Cabinet, he was able to secure some benefits for farmers and insisted it was his arguments that had seen the Government relax drought relief rules.
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