After 8 Yrs, Mulayam Back On UP Throne

Lucknow, Aug 29: | Updated: Aug 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was on Friday sworn in as Uttar Pradesh chief minister by the state governor for the third time after a gap of eight years. Immediately after the swearing ceremony, he announced withdrawal of all politically-motivated Pota cases, a move that would mean freedom for the controversial Independent MLA Raja Bhaiya and a few others.

The 63-year-old SP leader, who has 14 days to prove his majority in the Assembly, was guarded in his comments on sensitive political issues such as the cases against top BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case. He said he would consult the coalition partners on whether to issue a fresh notification to pave the way for trial of deputy prime minister LK Advani and others in the case.

This is the third time Mulayam has become the UP chief minister, the first being in 1989 and later heading a coalition with BSP, which collapsed in 1995.

Watched by NDA convener and defence minister George Fernandes, former prime minister Chandrashekar, state BJP leaders, his coalition partners, film stars Amitabh Bachhan and Jaya Prada, industrialist Anil Ambani, Mulayam alone took the oath of office, administered by governor Vishnukant Shastri on the banks of the Gomti here. None of the representatives of the supporting parties the Congress, RLD, RKP, CPM, and BSP rebels found a place in the ministry with the Congress still undecided on joining it.

Yadav said he will constitute his ministry in consultation with the coalition partners who have extended support to him, and refused to set any time-frame for the same but indicated it may be after he wins the confidence vote. He expressed the hope that the Congress will join the ministry.

Shortly after he took over, he directed officials to immediately withdraw Pota cases slapped by his predecessor Mayawati to settle political scores. Besides Raja Bhaiya, others who will be benefited by the order are another Independent MLA Dhananjay Singh, Raja Bhaiyas father Uday Pratap Singh and an MLA Ashok Pratap Singh.