Celebrating her birthday shorn of the frills normally associated with the event, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday "thanked" the opposition parties for their "malicious campaign" against her, claiming her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had collected twice the funds this year than it did for her birthday in previous years.
"I wish to thank all the opposition parties for the efforts made by them to malign the image of our party as it helped our workers to collect twice the donations that they collected last year on my birthday," she said.
Mayawati, who turned 53 on Thursday, expressed her condolences to the family members of those killed in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, saying: "It is to mourn those killed in the terror attack that celebrations will be low key this year and I will not even cut a cake".
In her brief address to the media, she singled out the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) and said that it was trying to make capital of the Auraiya episode in which Public Works Department engineer M.K Gupta was beaten to death by BSP legislator Shekhar Tiwari last month.
"The SP tried to project in all possible ways that the murder was related to fund collections for my birthday but I had made it clear that it was not. All the accused, including the legislator, are behind the bars and will be strictly punished," she said.
Mayawati said that the party will be organising rallies at all the 403 assembly constituencies where the party leaders would give a "befitting reply" to the opposition's charges.
"Donations to the needy and poor will also be made across the country by our workers," she said.