Jaiswal's remarks on possibility of Prez rule in UP spark row

Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today said if Congress fails to get a majority in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls he sees a possibility of President's rule, a statement that came under attack from rivals, forcing him to go for damage control.

"If Congress gets majority then it will form the government... In case we don't get clear majority we sit in the opposition and I see no alternative but governor's rule," the Union Coal Minister told reporters here after casting his vote.

The Congress leader said "those who lack confidence are looking for alliance....Congress will not forge any alliance."

But shortly later after reaching New Delhi, he appeared to retract, saying his statement was "twisted" by reporters.

"...the reality is that we will form a government with clear majority in UP and nobody can stop it from happening," Jaiswal said.

He claimed that some scribes had asked him about constitutional provisions in case no party is able to form government.

"I told them what is mentioned in the Constitution. That is, in such a case President's rule is imposed," he explained.

He claimed that even if Congress fails to get complete majority, it will be invited to form the government by the Governor as being the single largest party. "Independents and smaller parties will themselves extend support if we fall short of 10 or 5 seats," he said.
But his statement evoked sharp response from the BJP whose leader Uma Bharati said it was "undemocratic and a threat to the voters".

"On the threat that they would impose President's rule, I appeal to the electorate not to poll in favour of Congress as the party is not understanding the importance of their votes," she said in Charkhari, from where she is contesting.

Bharati said such a statement was "undemocratic and was not an announcement, but a threat.

"It is indicative of feudal mindset. Congress does not believe in democracy that is why they are saying this," she alleged.

Jaiswal said the 15 per cent "extra votes" cast during various phases of polling were in favour of Congress and Rahul Gandhi.

"Youth have come out to poll as they have seen the rule of other parties in the last 22 years...Rahul is attracting voters," he said.

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