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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Politics of Uttar Pradesh

Mayawati was embroiled in the case of a murder of Public Works Department engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta, who was brutally lynched to death in Auraiya by a BSP MLA for not fulfilling the demand for contribution to Mayawati’s birth day fund. Embarrassed, she declared no collection of funds in future for her birth days. This year, it was not her own birth day but the 25th birthday of her party and 76th of her mentor Kanshiram. She pushed herself again into the eye of the storm over a mega rally organized for the occasion on March 15 at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in Lucknow, estimated to have cost over Rs 200 crores.
The arrangements were simply on a mind boggling scale that would make even the most extravagant nawabs of Lucknow turn up into their graves in disbelief. She was likened by the Congress to Nero playing fiddle as the communal riot in Bareilly in the preceding week had yet not subsided Politics of the vote bank. The usual bias of media overflowed painting her in bad light. What stunned them on the day of the rally however was the giant garland made up of currency notes of Rs. 1000 denomination presented to her on the stage. Considering its visible length and diameter even a matriculate student could estimate its value in the range of Rs. 10 to 20 crores, although for some strange reasons, the media and the Income Tax authorities reconciled it to much lower levels. Her close confidant and cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui expectedly declared that it was just Rs. 21 lakhs and that the money was collected by party functionaries in Lucknow.
The TV channels beamed the pictures with characteristic relish and sought to create revulsion in people by conducting motivated debate over it. They insinuated income tax investigation and possible action by the RBI for the misuse of currency notes. As the middle India’s indignation peaked, Mayawati responded in her characteristic style just the day after by publicly accepting another currency garland, this time of Rs. 18 lakh, from her party workers and approvingly smiled as they declared that she would be gifted with only currency garlands in future. It was reiterated that BSP collected its funds only through such small donations from ordinary people unlike other parties who did it from big industrialists.
The event provoked media to nervously reiterate its charges against Mayawati: her autocratic style and undemocratic behaviour; her hypocrisy in speaking for Dalits but living in a super-luxuriant style, her waste of public money over mega memorials, her corruption, and so on. The ruling Congress-spokesman endorsed these charges and claimed that she would pay for all these crimes. Indeed, there are some cases against her pending in the courts but they have utterly failed to scare her. The fact remains that instead of getting scared; she has been getting more and more defiant and raising the bar to a whole new level. Rather, with her outlandish acts, she is creating scare in the minds of others as they know that notwithstanding their scale, all those charges could very well stick to each of them.