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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 17:21 GMT
Direct rule for Uttar Pradesh
President Narayanan and Prime Minister Vajpayee
Narayanan (left) has given power to the local governor
Indian President KR Narayanan has approved the imposition of direct central rule in Uttar Pradesh state following inconclusive assembly elections last month.

Mulayam Singh Yadav
The Samajwadi leader says he can form a government
The governor of India's most populous state, Vishnukant Shashtri, made the request for presidential rule late on Wednesday.

It was agreed to by the federal government on Thursday.

Governor Shashtri now formally takes over executive authority of the state, suspending the legislative assembly.

In February's elections, no single party won the 202 seats required to secure an absolute majority in the 403-member legislature.

Parliamentary approval

The Samajwadi Party, which won 145 seats, had accused Governor Shashtri of deliberately blocking it from forming a government.

But the governor was unconvinced that Samajwadi leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was going to be able to garner majority support.

Voters in Uttar Pradesh
Voters gave no single party an overall majority

Both the ousted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had rule the state for five years, and Bahujan Samaj Party had ruled out supporting the Samajwadi Party.

The AFP news agency reported that the issue disrupted proceedings in both houses on Thursday after Samajwadi MPs shouted slogans in protest at the state governor's recommendation.

A newly-elected Samajwadi legislator, Manzoor Ahmad, was shot dead on Wednesday during state-wide protests by the party.

Mr Ahmad was killed during a sit-down demonstration outside the governor's house in the state capital, Lucknow.

Police seized the unidentified gunman and are now trying to establish the motive for the shooting.

According to the Associated Press news agency, police said the killing of Mr Ahmad, who was a Muslim, had nothing to do with the communal riots in western Gujarat state, which have left more than 600 dead.

See also:

27 Feb 02 | South Asia
Samajwadi Party stakes claim in UP
26 Feb 02 | South Asia
Parties jockey for Uttar Pradesh
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
India's BJP mulls poll blow
21 Feb 02 | South Asia
Voting ends in key India elections
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
Key Indian state polls begin
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
In pictures: India's state polls
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