Monday, Sep 25, 2023

UP Elections 2022: Mayawati Goes Hard At Congress

UP Elections 2022: Mayawati Goes Hard At Congress

Mayawati’s Thursday rally in Ghaziabad was only her second ahead of the assembly elections, following a similar campaign meeting in Agra on Wednesday.

Mayawati's rally in Ghaziabad.
Mayawati's rally in Ghaziabad. Suresh K Pandey/Outlook

The helicopter hovered overhead, sending dust and pieces of paper swirling up into the air.  Below, at the Ramlila Maidan in Ghaziabad’s Kavi Nagar, chants of ‘Jai Bhim’ reached a crescendo. More than three thousand enthusiastic supporters waving blue flags had trooped into the ground as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati made a rare public appearance this election season in Uttar Pradesh. 

Mayawati’s Thursday rally in Ghaziabad was only her second ahead of the assembly elections, following a similar campaign meeting in Agra on Wednesday. At the Agra rally, the former chief minister and Dalit leader dismissed her political opponent’s charge that she was “invisible” and hence “not in the poll race”. She claimed to have been working to strengthen her party. For the record, the BSP is putting up candidates in all 403 seats. 

In Ghaziabad, she picked up from where had left off a day earlier, mainly attacking the Congress, before targeting the Samajwadi Party and BJP. Also, present on the stage with her were MP Kunwar Danish Ali and party candidate from Meerut Mandal. 

“Congress had mostly been in power since independence, but it did not do anything to honour the heroes of Dalit movement, like Br Ambedkar and Kanshiram. It did not even consider awarding the Bharat Ratna to an icon like Ambekar when it was in power," Mayawati said as she launched a broadside at a party written off by almost all poll experts. 

“Even when Kanshiram passed away, the Congress did not set aside even a day to mourn his death; all that the party wants are the votes of Dalits and Adivasis but forget them as soon as it comes to power,” she added. 


Mayawati's campaign. Mayawati's campaign. (Credit: Suresh K Pandey/Outlook)

She accused the SP of being a party of criminals and anti-Dalits while terming the BJP a communal party that controls media to hide its failures. 

“In the garb of court orders, Samajwadi Party exploits SC and ST communities while being in power, changes the name of places named after Dalit icons, such as Bhimrao Ambedkar Park, and others. The SP acquires land belonging to Dalits and the poor when it is in power,” she said. “On the other hand, the BJP government’s development claims are a sham. It is only spreading hatred in the name of religion. The increasing crime figures are hidden under the BJP rule. Dalits and women are not safe under the present regime. The media does the work of suppressing instead of showing the true statistics,” she added. 

She also accused SP of blocking a bill in Parliament on reservation for the promotion of Dalit officers. 

Mayawati urged her supporters to make sure that everyone from their families cast their votes and that the party volunteers should cast their votes after everyone else in their families. 

Taking a dig at the media, the BSP supremo said, “Remember, in 2017 too, this media had ruled out the possibility of our forming the government, and then everyone knows what happened.” 

Mayawati also stressed what is considered the strength of her party, the booth managing committee, and announced that if the party comes back to power, it will be because of the hard work of people managing the booths. 

However, like in the past, Mayawati did not talk about young Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad or his Bhim Army in her speech. Mayawati's supporters argue that the former chief minister does not want to give undue attention to him and the Bhim Army. 

“Chandrashekhar is a BJP agent and does not have any ground. If he was pro-Dalit, his Bhim Army could have worked with the BSP the way RSS and Bajrang Dal work for BJP. As long as Behenji Mayawati is alive, she will be our leader and BSP our party,” said Advocate Robin, who had come from Hapur to attend the meeting. 

Another supporter claimed that Chandrashekhar is being given the space by the media because they know he will damage Mayawati and the BSP. “He is getting all the limelight because he intends to damage Mayawati and BSP. Nevertheless, we will not let that happen,” he said. 

In an effort to win over the upper castes—who had once voted her to power before switching allegiance to the BJP—the BSP supremo has consistently claimed that the upper castes too were neglected by the present regime. “The upper castes also feel neglected under the BJP. The government's policies have led to price rise and an increased number of people living in poverty,” she said on Thursday. 


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