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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Mayawati misses Kanshi Ram’s death anniversary event in Lucknow, sparks off a row

The associates of Kanshi Ram and former BSP leaders hit out at party chief Mayawati for her absence from Lucknow and the ‘lacklustre show’ put by the party on the day.

cities Updated: Oct 09, 2019 20:58 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati addresses a press conference at party office in Lucknow.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati addresses a press conference at party office in Lucknow.(Photo: PTI)
         

The 13th death anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram in Lucknow on Wednesday turned out to be a low-key affair in contrast to the show of strength that the party has been accustomed to organising on such occasions in the past.

The associates of Kanshi Ram and former BSP leaders hit out at party chief Mayawati for her absence from Lucknow and the ‘lacklustre show’ put by the party on the day.

A BSP leader said, “Party leaders and workers had hoped that Mayawati will kick-start the campaign for the party’s revival by mobilising the workers on the death anniversary of the BSP founder.”

The Kanshi Ram memorial in the state capital wore a deserted look as only a few local BSP leaders visited it with their supporters to pay their respects to the Dalit icon.

Mayawati camped in Delhi, the BSP state unit spokesperson said in a press release, adding that she was there to oversee the party’s preparations for the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections.

In a tweet, Mayawati said a programme was organised at Prerna Kendra on Gurudwara Rakabganj Road in Delhi where she paid obeisance to Kanshi Ram.

In the past, the BSP used to get its party workers to throng the memorial on the birth (March 15) and death (October 9) anniversaries of Kanshi Ram and hear party chief Mayawati, who used to lead the programme, deliver fiery speeches.

This time, in a series of tweets, Mayawati said the BSP organised several programmes across the country and in UP on the 13th death anniversary of Kanshi Ram, who “had struggled for the rights of the deprived people”.

In Lucknow, party leaders visited the grand Kanshi Ram memorial constructed by the BSP government to pay floral tribute to the party founder, she said.

She also said Kanshi Ram was committed to the movement launched by Bhimrao Ambedkar for the self-respect of the Dalit community.

Kanshi Ram was aware that casteist organisations would use all the tricks to challenge the bahujan movement, she said, adding he accepted the task and moved forward. UP was the best example of his endeavour, she said in her tweet.

The party organised programmes and seminars in districts, divisions and at the booth level to pay homage to Kanshi Ram, he said.

RK Chaudhary, who had been associated with Kanshi Ram, said BSP national president Mayawati dumped the ideology of the party founder to serve her vested interests.

Rather than joining the followers of Kanshi Ram in observing his death anniversary, she completed the formalities by posting tweets. Discarding the ideologue will hurt the social movement launched for the empowerment of the weaker sections, he said.

Dalit activist AR Akela said Kanshi Ram was against promoting dynasty in politics, but Mayawati had appointed her family members to top posts in the party.

The party’s defeat in its strongholds clearly indicated that her charisma among the Dalits was waning fast.

After the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha election, she had not visited her mentor Kanshi Ram’s memorial, he said.

Former MLA Daddu Prasad, who had been a minister in the BSP government, said Mayawati had dumped Kanshi Ram’s movement for social change. She knew that Dalits had deserted the BSP and would ignore her appeal as well. She decided to stay away from the programme organised at the memorial, he said.

RK Gautam, a political observer, said Mayawati had expelled the founder-members of the BSP, considered loyal to Kanshi Ram, including Raj Bahadur, Balihari Babu, Swami Prasad Maurya, Daddu Prasad, Lalmani Verma, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Indrajit Saroj, RK Chaudhary, Jung Bahadur Patel, Ram Lakhan Verma, Brijlal Khabri, Kamlakant Gautam, Isham Singh, Jagnath Rahi, Harpal Saini and Deena Nath Bhaskar. Her move clearly showed that she had bid adieu to the policies and ideals of Kanshi Ram, he said.

In the past, the memorial used to be decked up with party flags and cut outs of Dalit icons.

After defeats in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 UP assembly election, Mayawati has been working on various strategies to regain political ground.

In a review meeting held in September, she had directed the party leaders and office bearers to start preparing for the 2022 assembly election in UP.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 18:39 IST

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