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Hoping to be PM one day

Mayawati’s speech at the sprawling Ramabai ground in Lucknow on Saturday made three things clear. First, in Uttar Pradesh, she is determined to go it alone in forthcoming election, reports M Hasan.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2008 00:40 IST
M Hasan

Mayawati’s speech at the sprawling Ramabai ground in Lucknow on Saturday made three things clear. First, in Uttar Pradesh, she is determined to go it alone in forthcoming elections. Having won a handsome majority all by herself in the last assembly poll, she sees no reason to grant any quarter to any party. In her speech she was just as critical of the BJP as of the Congress, calling both her ‘main enemies’ on the national scene.

For all her new found love for the UNPA, she was unwilling to concede a single seat to another UNPA constituent, Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal in the coming Lok Sabha polls, making it clear she would contest all 80, never mind that the UNPA’s fragile unity received a severe jolt in the process.

Second, the speech showed that not only is she completely upfront about her prime ministerial ambitions, but also to realise those ambitions she is going to use the same social engineering technique that proved so successful in Uttar Pradesh. Her target will be castes and communities other than Dalit, specially the forward castes; she is confident that once she can project her Bahujan Samaj Party as a serious alternative in other states, the Dalit vote will be automatically hers.

Already, in these states, in recent elections, she has been drawing sizeable chunks of the Dalit vote – thus acquiring the reputation of a ‘spoiler’ for other parties in the fray, specially the Congress – despite the fact that her voters know she has no chance of forming the government.

Thus her studied projection of herself, in her speech, as a ‘Bharat ki Beti’ (daughter of India) and not a ‘Dalit ki Beti’ (Dalit’s daughter).

Third the speech, albeit inadvertently, exposed her Achilles heel too. The way she harped on the subject, insisting it was a conspiracy against her, gave away the fact that was indeed worried about the disproportionate assets case pending against her. She is trying to turn the matter into an election issue, as an example of how she is being persecuted by her political opponents, but if court judgements are unfavourable, they may well wreck her carefully planned future career graph.