Mayawati says Dalit’s daughter targeted, BJP hits back

Lucknow/New Delhi : A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sniffed out more than Rs 104 crore deposited in her party’s account after demonetisation, BSP supremo Mayawati on Tuesday said a “Dalit’s daughter” was being barred from political power in Uttar Pradesh through the “misuse” of official machinery.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit back, saying championing the cause of the Dalits does not entitle anyone to indulge in corruption.

Addressing a press conference in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, Mayawati said: “The anti-Dalit BJP and all those having a casteist mentality do not want that a ‘Dalit ki beti’ (Dalit’s daughter) should get the master key of power in Uttar Pradesh.”

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of using the official machinery to malign the BSP ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, said the money deposited in her party’s account was not black money and was collected by her party workers over the last few months.

She said the said money was collected by party workers as donations and then converted into big denomination notes as it is “convenient” to carry such currency.

“The money belongs to the party, which has been deposited following due procedures. Every penny of this money is accounted for,” she said.

“The party workers collected the money through membership drive across the country and deposited the same in the party office. Should we have thrown this money after demonetisation? We deposited it in the bank account with full transparency,” she said.

Alleging that “facts are being distorted” to malign her party’s image, Mayawati challenged the BJP to make public the details of its accounts 10 months before demonetisation till date.

“If they (BJP) have an iota of integrity or honesty, they should make public the details of their accounts,” she said.

Taking strong exception to Mayawati’s remarks, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he could not understand Mayawati’s agitation at a legal process.

“The ED has detected the money and asked for explanation as to where did this money come from. She owes an explanation within the legal framework. Why is she so agitated?” Prasad said.

“Now, it is becoming clear why Mayawati has been opposing the demonetisation move tooth and nail,” he added.

Hitting back at Mayawati’s “Dalit ki beti” remark, Prasad said being a champion of the Dalit cause does not allow one to indulge in corruption.

“We are all for Dalits’ empowerment and development. But the issue of Dalit development should not become a symbol of corruption or hijacked by anyone,” Prasad said.

In a separate media briefing, Dalit leader and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan slammed Mayawati’s comments, saying being a Dalit’s daughter is not a “licence to corruption”.

“My party works for the Dalits. The total money in (my) Lok Janshakti Party’s bank account is Rs 1,03,198. Being a daughter of a Dalit does not give you the licence to indulge in corruption,” Paswan said.

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