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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 20, May 2, 2009

Mayawati’s Gimmicks

Saturday 2 May 2009, by Shiv Kumar Mishra

Between two aspirants for the coveted post of India’s Prime Minister, Advani and Mayawati, an interesting competition is on. Both first got their biographies written but felt that the author’s appeal is not enough; they must prove that none can do justice to their achievements than they themselves. So Lal Advani wrote My Country, My Life on which his loyalists in the Sangh Parivar are showering encomiums. Mayawati has brought out a multi-volume autobiography My Struggle-ridden Life and the Bahujan Samaj Movement. Both have tried to show that if they have come thus far, their dream would inevitably manifest. The self-styled Lauh purush had once proved that he has become rusty; he is facing its repeat again.

Mayawati is entertaining the hope for prime ministership because she has for the first time become the Chief Minister of UP with the BSP securing an absolute majority in the 2007 elections. She forgets that at that time all the parties opposed to Mulayam had targeted his use of mafia dons. The BSP then gave the slogan ‘chadh goodan ki chhaati par, mohar lagao haathi par’ which clicked with the electorate. Now the situation is reversed. Mayawati is turning out to be the leader and patron of all dons—Hari Shankar Tiwari, Mukhtar Ansari, Afzal Ansari, Dhananjay Singh in eastern UP; D.P. Yadav, Madan Bhaiya in the western part of the State; and Badshah Singh in Bundelkhand are being projected as BSP candidates for the Lok Sabha. Thus, if Mayawati repeates her performance she will bring these history-sheeters to mobilise support for her to capture the top seat. This has reversed the 2007 slogan to ‘goonda chadh gaye hathi par, goli maro chhaati par’ (the goons are riding the elephant and deserve to be shot’).

Even now 160 of the MLAs and 23 Ministers blessed by Mayawati have a criminal past. Some of them are indulging in criminal activities even at this point. Recently a legislator from Aurayya Sadar, Shekhar Tiwari, has been put behind bars for the murder of the Executive Engineer Manoj Gupta. Before that another one, Anand Sen, had been sentenced to prison on account of the murder of a girl student, Shashi, of Faizabad. Anand Sen was at that time the MoS, Food. Fisheries Minister Yamuna Prasad Nishad had be dismissed from the Ministry because a police sub-inspector was killed while Nishad was leading a demonstration at the police station. Bhagwan Sharma alias Guddoo Pandit has been arrested on the charge of sexually exploited a young woman, Ramankant Yadav, whom behenji had got elected to the Lok Sabha. He got bulldozed a newly-built building in order grab precious land on the Azamgarh-Shahganj Road.

In the 2007 Assembly elections, 131 candidates put up by Mayawati had a criminal background; 33 of them were known goons. This is the face of Mayawati’s social engineering. Quite brazenly she claims that she is giving them opportunity to reform themselves. This being her claim, with what face can she accuse Mulayam Singh or Kalyan Singh of criminalising politics?

MAYAWATI’S BSP is the only party that has no social political programme—it never issued a manifesto. Dr Ambedkar, on whose name she is trying to cash in, had pleaded for land reforms in order to give land to the landless, the bulk of whom belong to the depressed classes (Dalits or Scheduled Castes). Mayawati thinks differently: in her opinion, this class comes en bloc to her because of the hardships and sacrifices they endure; they will find no reason to support her once their oppressive misery is no more.

Her strategy is to dazzle by demonstrating her glamorous personality. She uses the administration to amass wealth by all means, fair or foul, but mostly foul. An example of that is the murder of Suriya engineer Manoj Gupta. The PWD Executive Engineer in Mathura, C.D. Roy, has disclosed that he has always been pressurised to collect money for behenji’s birthday. BSP legislator Vinod Kumar Harit started collection for the same purpose, sitting in the police station at Transport Nagar. He had completed the amount he was asked to collect and was trying to exceed it.

Mayawati has amassed millions and acquired huge properties for herself but done nothing for those she claims to represent. In the course of her rule, there have been 6144 cases of Dalit oppression. With the domination of the BSP by criminals nothing better can be expected.

She has been able to capture Uttar Pradesh only by going one better on her rivals, the BJP and SP. That is why it is now being said the success of Mayawati will spell doom for the State. Her dream of capturing power at the Centre depends on multiplication of the UP experiment in other States but there are hardly any takers elsewhere. Her party had put up 590 candidates in the recent Assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Of them just 18 got elected; some of them are itching to migrate to other parties.

People like Mayawati, enamoured of themselves, never think of what is happening in the world, what people are thinking about them. They live in a world of their own, surrounded by sycophants. Thus the UP Chief Minister never takes a pause to reflect whether she has provided any relief to the people on whose support she has acquired the throne in the State. She thinks the State is in her clutches and it will provide her the base to jump and capture the Indian Republic.

The bureaucrats and party cadres miss no opportunity to sing her hosannas. They have convinced her that secure on her Lucknow gaddi, she has to reach out to the rest of India where the magic of her personality will bring voters everywhere to stamp on the BSP symbol, the elephant. So convinced is she that she is playing ducks and drakes with the State treasury while accusing the Central Government of not providing the necessary funds for development of the State.

Every nook and corner of Lucknow provides ample evidence of her profligacy. All street, road dividers and bridge railings are painted in her party’s blue; her followers ensure that no critical comment in the print media or television reaches the eyes and ears of behenji. Half-a-dozen journalists, including the Resident Editor of a national daily, have lost their jobs for the crime of reporting or commenting critically on the Mayawati administration. It is well known that, instead of talking to editors, she talks direct to the owners. Freedom of the press is markedly absent under the Mayawati rule.

To impress the nation as a whole, her achievements are being tom-tomed through newspaper advertisements and documentaries on all national and regional TV channels. Proposals for films are also under consideration. The Chief Minister of UP has turned into a saleable commodity. In the effort to market herself, she is trying to put her mentor, Kanshi Ram, as well as the Dalit icon, Dr Ambedkar, into the shade. The Ambedkar Park in Lucknow was conceived by the architect, Satish Gujral, as a lush green area but it has been coverted into a concrete jungle with 60 life-size granite statues of elephants. Statues of Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram, Shahuji Mahraj are being replaced by life-size statues of Mayawati. Thus not only is the capital city being disfigured, the tall historical figures are being sought to be dwarfed through a colossal wastage of public money.

Will the electorate fall for such a self-centred profligate? Yes, if they are blind to this plunder!

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