Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Monday questioned the authenticity of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's letter, being used by the Bhartiya Janata Party's (BJP) Lucknow candidate Lalji Tandon as an appeal to the people of the state capital for support.
After representing the prestigious Lucknow Lok Sabha seat for five consecutive terms, Vajpayee opted out of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls due to ill-health and handpicked Tandon to contest.
"Tandon is busy showing a letter in the form of an appeal purported to be made by Vajpayee in his support, but I fail to understand how such an appeal could have been actually issued by the former prime minister, who is too old and infirm," Mayawati said.
When Vajpayee can neither walk nor talk and even does not understand anything due to old age and illness, how could he have written out an appeal for Tandon, Mayawati asked, adding, however, that she wished Vajpayee good health.
Attacking the other key contestant for the Lucknow seat - Nafisa Ali of the Samajwadi Party (SP) - Mayawati said it appeared that the SP does not have anyone capable enough to be fielded from Lucknow.
"That is why they first tried to usher film actor Sanjay Dutt from Mumbai, but after he was denied permission on account of his criminal antecedents, they imported yet another outsider," she said.
Dismissing the Congress party as "dead" and "non-existent", the BSP supremo showered praise on her own party nominee Akhilesh Das. "Akhilesh Das is a local man, who has done lots for this city. Earlier, he was in the Congress, where he felt very frustrated, so he opted for the BSP, where he is sure to shine."
Reading out from a typed text, Mayawati slammed all her key opponents - the Congress, the Samajwadi Party as well as the BJP, while extolling her own party's achievements. "The BSP government alone has delivered the fruits of development to the state and that too without any support from the centre," she said.