Displaying a hint of emotion perhaps for the first time in public, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said she would renounce politics (‘take sanyas’) if opposition charges about her owning several companies, including a TV news channel, were proved right.
The opposition parties, chiefly the BJP, had accused Mayawati of having allegedly parked her funds in bogus companies that existed on paper in the name of her brother Anand.
These allegations were made both in 2012 UP polls that she lost to the Samajwadi Party as well as in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which her party was wiped out in the Modi wave.
With the BJP playing up the ‘Maya’s riches’ story among her trusted dalit vote bank, the BSP leader twice spoke of ‘taking sanyas’ if charges against her were proved right’. Her stance was an apparent effort to be seen as clean by her supporters, whom her party had invited from across the state to Lucknow hear her on Ambedkar Jayanti. Cheered by her supporters, she defended her family and said since none of her family members were in politics they had every right to pursue their business or jobs.
“But even that is held against them and everything is linked to me,” she said. During her hourlong address delivered from Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal that was among the several dalit memorials built during her regime in UP from 2007 to 2012, she repeatedly targeted the BJP and the RSS whom she blamed for trying to confuse dalits by reminding them of their Hindu roots.
She also tried to answer the charges levelled against her by one-time trusted lieutenants about her demanding money for allowing candidates to contest on BSP ticket by cleverly admitting that unlike “other parties” that thrive on funding by capitalists, the BSP relies on “donations” by the cadre.
She said barring a booklet that is printed by her party annually on January 15, the BSP did not have any publication to its credit.
Mayawati said that the BJPRSS might decide to confer the Bharat Ratna on BSP founder Kanshiram just before the 2017 UP polls so that they could politically benefit by portraying themselves as champions of the dalit cause.
“We have already demanded Bharat Ratna for Kanshi Ramji. But neither the Congress nor the BJP agreed. Now, the present BJP-led NDA government may choose to confer the award on Kanshi Ramji just before 2017 polls. That would be for vote politics, not out of respect and recognition for the founder of the Bahujan Samaj movement,” she said.
Accusing the BJP-RSS of confusing the dalits in the name of Hindu unity, she said, “Before elections, it’s Hindu unity but after polls they shun you as untouchables.”
This was apparently in response to the recent moves by the RSS to expand the ‘Hindu unity’ theory by asking to end untouchability. To build on the saffron agenda, upper caste BJP leaders have started dining with dalits (‘sah-bhoj’). The move has been timed with Ambedkar Jayanti to market the party appeal among the community, which has largely backed the BSP. “The BJP and RSS have been claiming that Ambedkar favoured Hindutva. Had that been true, he would never have renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism on October 14, 1956. Beware of the RSS canard,” she said, while calling for promoting dalitupper caste mix along with seeking support from Muslims and backwards.
Attack on SP
Dubbing the decision of the Akhilesh Yadav government to declare Ambedkar’s death anniversary on December 6 a public holiday. She said, “Such decisions were based on political considerations. You must have seen the chief minister and other SP leaders going to garland the statue of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. But that is out of official compulsion rather than by conviction.”
Mayawati expectedly backed the promotion quota, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court. She attacked the UP government, which has acted on the basis of court order, for demoting quota officials and said she had appealed to the Centre to get the promotion quota cleared by the Lok Sabha.
Law and order
Mayawati said irrespective of how many CCTVs were installed in UP, the law and order situation would continue to be poor. “That’s because this government patronises crooks and criminals,” she said.
PM, CM’s foreign yatra under fire
Mayawati said at a time when farmers were dying in UP as indeed across the country, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had embarked on foreign trips.