Home India Politics Mayawati remembers Kanshi Ram – but doesn’t forget elections

Mayawati remembers Kanshi Ram – but doesn’t forget elections


Lucknow : The launch of the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) pre-election campaign? Or a rally to mark mentor Kanshi Ram’s first death anniversary? It could have been both Tuesday as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati addressed a million supporters here and asked them to usher in BSP rule at the centre.

The city was coloured blue, the late Dalit leader was hailed as ‘manyavar’, or the honourable, and Mayawati took the opportunity to launch 13 projects named after him with an allocation of Rs.250 billion. These ranged from a Manyawar Shri Kanshi Ram Ji Museum, a Manyawar Shri Kanshi Ram Ji Memorial Upvan (Garden), a hospital and even a ‘Yaadgaar’ guesthouse in Lucknow.

Enthused by the massive gathering that descended on the sprawling 50-acre newly created Rama Bai Ambedkar grounds on the outskirts of the city, Mayawati sought to emphasise how she would transform everybody’s life if her party were to form India’s national government.

The crowds cheered each time their ‘Behenji’ talked about taking the unfulfilled dream of party founder Kanshi Ram to its logical conclusion – establishing BSP rule in New Delhi.

With an eye on the seat of power in New Delhi, Mayawati touched on the civil nuclear deal with the US, blamed adversary Samajwadi Party for the ills in the state and flayed the UPA government in the centre for a range of ills.

“I feel that the Congress party should have taken all political parties into confidence before signing the nuclear deal,” she said.

Terming the differences within the UPA over the nuclear deal and the controversy over Ram Sethu as factors that could propel the nation into an early Lok Sabha poll, Mayawati urged her party workers to be ready for elections in the near future.

“Shortly after assuming power in Uttar Pradesh where BSP formed its government with a clear majority in May, I met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and drew his attention to certain vital issues like the need for reservations to the poor among the upper castes, introduction of reservation in the private sector. But I have yet to receive any response from his office.”

“Never mind, once we have our own government at the centre, we will introduce all this,” she assured the crowd.

Mayawati blamed the UPA for shortage of funds: “We are unable to ensure proper development of Uttar Pradesh simply because of shortage of funds. Our demand for a special economic package for the state is also gathering dust in the office of the prime minister.”

Be it shortage of power, the state’s indebtedness to the World Bank, poor performance of the sugar industry or fighting unemployment, the BSP chief put all the blame on the UPA government.

She labelled the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) a “sham and an eyewash”. “Once we form our government at the centre, we will do away with such half-baked schemes. Instead I will ensure permanent employment to the vast majority of the unemployed.”

Referring to her government’s decision to dismiss 17,000 of the 22,000 cops during the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav regime, Mayawati said she felt sorry for those who lost their jobs.

“But I was constrained to do so because of the gross irregularities in the recruitment,” she said, adding hastily, “I would like to assure all of them that we would consider their case when we open fresh recruitments.”

The chief minister also wanted to soften the blow about retrenching 13,000 Urdu teachers. “That was not my government’s decision; we had to do so only in pursuance of a high court order.”

While the party focussed all its attention on the grand show here, in New Delhi too thousands of people paid tributes to Kanshi Ram at the BSP office.

Men and women, young and old paid floral tributes before a huge bronze statue of Kanshi Ram in the office complex, collected literature on him and listened to songs in his praise set to the tunes of popular patriotic numbers.