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Mayawati trips opposition with split move

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati continued to keep the opposition off balance in the run-up to state elections early next year. On Monday, soon after it had passed the resolution to divide UP into four, the assembly was adjourned indefinitely.

Constitutionally, there was no need for the state assembly to pass such a resolution, but by passing it the BSP has scored politically: it has nullified some of the buzz around Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s high-decibel poll campaign and hijacked the BJP plank of favouring smaller states and set the agenda for the political discourse in the coming months.

It has also brought into stark relief the Samajwadi Party’s stand against division. This, it is hoping, will pay it dividends in the Bundelkhand, Paschim Pradesh regions where there is a strong sentiment in favour of smaller states.

The assembly, which was adjourned sine die (official end of a session) late on Monday, also passed the vote on account and another resolution on renaming a university.

The CM thus, avoided a discussion on splitting the state, which could have exposed her party to charges of political opportunism as the issue has been kept in abeyance since 2007.

Mayawati has now placed the Congress-dominated Centre in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation.

It can’t grant Mayawati her wish without opening up a can of worms in Telangana and North Bengal (Gorkhaland). But by not doing anything, it will hand Mayawati a populist, emotive issue with which to divert attention from opposition charges of poor governance, corruption and nepotism.

“It is a diversionary tactic… Our party will not allow the state to be divided,” said Samajwadi Party supreme Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The Congress criticised the resolution as “political opportunism” and said people would give “an appropriate reply” (in the elections), while BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi termed the move “a cover-up of the sins of the past four-and-a-half years”.