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Mayawati wants cash on her birthday
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | January 14, 2005 09:46 IST
Last Updated: January 14, 2005 10:37 IST
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati does not want any gifts on her birthday on January 15.
She wants cash.
Last year the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had faced a lot of criticism over the issue, but she remains unfazed.
Printed in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 100, the coupons carry the BSP chief's signature and the message: 'The Bahujan Samaj Party central unit has decided to observe my birthday on January 15 as 'Financial Support Day'. Kindly make your contributions on this occasion.'
Mayawati has fixed a target of Rs 8 crore from Uttar Pradesh, party sources told rediff.com
Each BSP legislator has been asked to contribute Rs 200,000.
It is not clear how much is expected from the other states.
Defending the practice, BSP leader and former UP assembly speaker Barkhu Ram Verma said, "There is nothing shady about the whole thing. Behenji has decided to make a public announcement of the total amount she receives as gift on her birthday."
"This is nothing new, and let me tell you that all the gift money is used for the benefit and growth of the party," he added.
During her stint as CM in 2002, the dalit leader had put up an extravagant show on her birthday and billed everything to the state exchequer.
Never before had a CM's birthday been celebrated so lavishly.
The entire event was official; through a government order, about ten departments and organisations were assigned tasks to make it a success.
A 51-kg cake, 100,000 ladoos, 60 quintals of marigold flowers and some 5,000 bouquets were among the highlights of the event.
The government also declared the day as 'Swabhiman Diwas' (Self-respect Day).
In her then dual capacity as CM and BSP vice-president, Mayawati declared January 15 as 'Arthik Sahyog Diwas' (Financial Support Day).
The collection targets for her party MPs and MLAs and ministers then were much higher.
Bureaucrats, too, were understood to have contributed in a big way.
A cultural extravaganza at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi followed the day show in Lucknow. The state government picked up that tab as well.
Rs 10.4 million was drawn out of the state contingency fund to meet the expenses.
Under the rules, the contingency fund is to tide over urgent and unforeseen needs that cannot await legislative sanction.
In 2004, when she was out of power, BSP workers celebrated Mayawati's birthday in Lucknow while she preferred to stay in Delhi.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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