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Mahatma Gandhi and Rahul: Mayawati's latest targets

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
June 13, 2009 21:11 IST
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Apparently Mahatma Gandhi's goodwill with 'untouchables' of those days and All India Congress Committee General Secreatary Rahul Gandhi's attempts to reach out to dalits continues to bug Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, to whom both seem absolutely unpalatable.

Sure enough she sees Rahul's overtures to dalits as a major threat to her dalit vote bank. It was, therefore, no surprise that she has given a call for nation wide protest demonstrations by Bahujan Samaj Party activists on June 19 - Rahul's birthday.

Even though ostensibly it was termed as just another demonstration against what Mayawati terms as "anti-dalit policies of the Congress party," the idea behind the move was to run down the young Congress leader, who had clearly eroded some ground under her feet.

Simultaneously, she also used the opportunity to train her guns at the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, against whom she and her political mentor Kanshi Ram used to earlier spew venom while BSP was still in its infancy.

Making the announcement at a specially convened day-long meeting of her ministers, party MPs , MLAs, district coordinators and other senior leaders in Lucknow on Saturday, Mayawati's main focus was on warning her partymen against Rahul Gandhi's overtures to dalits.

She was understood to have repeatedly told her audience to remain wary of Rahul and his Congress clan, whom she accused of playing gimmick with deceiving dalits. She termed Rahul Gandhi's attempts to reach out to dalits by spending a night in their homes and by sharing a meal as "drama."

She went to the extent of dragging Mahatma Gandhi too on her target. "Such farce was played by all Congressmen including Gandhiji, who staged more melodrama than anybody else to project himself as some kind of messiah of the dalit community, when fact remains that he was responsible for depriving the community of certain special rights and privileges by getting the Poona Pact passed on September 24, 1932," Mayawati told her audience.

Urging her partymen to stage street demonstrations and rallies at all district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh, she called for similar demonstrations at the capital town of all states across the country on June 19.

"Be wary of rival political parties, who are out to only misguide you; remember their only objective is to weaken the BSP, that is why they were cooking up all kinds of stories to mislead you," she told her partymen the umpteenth time since her party fell far behind its own inflated Lok Sabha projections.

She sought to impress upon her partymen to remember that Babasaheb Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram alone were the true messiah of dalits and that it was her successful experiment with "social engineering" that propelled her party to power entirely on it own in UP.

As if to dispel rumours about her disillusionment with Brahmins, who were alleged to have ditched her party at the Lok Sabha polls, she sought to point out , "We will continue to work on our mission of 'sarvajan hitaye' (good of all) and our 'bhai-chara' (brotherhood) meetings will also continue with the same spirit as before."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow