LUCKNOW: Stung by Narendra Modi's reference to "garlands of notes", BSP chief Mayawati today unleashed a no-holds-barred attack on the prime minister, alleging that he could not "tolerate" that a "Dalit ki beti" was presented such a garland.
"BJP leaders have accepted garlands of notes and they have no problem if Modi is garlanded with notes any number of times. But, if a 'Dalit ki beti' is offered such a garland, it does not become palatable for the prime minister. It reflects his cheap mentality," she said at a hurriedly convened press conference, hours after the prime minister made the remark at a BJP rally in Ghazipur.
"In order to divert the people's attention from his failures, Modi levels baseless allegations against his political opponents which is condemnable...allegations on policy matters are different, but personal ones should not be made...he cannot tolerate that a 'Dalit ki beti' is presented with garlands of notes," Mayawati said, adding that he could not digest what she wore.
The BSP chief described Modi's Ghazipur rally as a "flop show" as "the crowd was brought from neighbouring Bihar". "There were hardly 20-25,000 people...," she said, alleging that they were "paid from the black money collected by the BJP" to attend the rally. "The Ghazipur rally was a flop show...crowds were brought from Bihar by paying them from the black money collected by the BJP in the last two-and-a-half years and also by ferrying them for free in buses and trains by politicising the railways," she alleged.
"On one hand, the prime minister says he is against corruption. On the other hand, they (BJP) have politicised the rail and people were brought for free...will he (Modi) introspect and answer if he, who is giving sermons, is so clean himself, then how much does he practise what he preaches," Mayawati said.
She said BSP workers do not offer "garlands of black money notes" but by making small donations as a mark of respect towards their leader. "If, sitting in the prime minister's chair, he makes such shallow allegations, one can understand his mindset regarding Dalits," Mayawati said.
The BSP supremo was offered a garland of currency notes at a party rally in Lucknow when she was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, at the Ghazipur rally, without naming anyone, Modi had said, "They used to get huge garlands of notes under which their faces got hidden."
Referring to Modi's speech, Mayawati alleged that throughout the address, he kept making "false claims", especially on corruption that those in possession of black money since Independence will be taken to task and said the people of the country wanted a permanent solution from corruption, hoarding and loot of national resources.
"Our party welcomes from the heart any strong action for it, but the present government, in the garb of checking black money and corruption, has forced the people to face immense hardships," she said. Mayawati said the prime minister should have made adequate preparations before scrapping the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes so as not to put commoners to inconvenience.
The BSP leader dismissed as "hollow" Modi's claims on putting an end to black money and termed the demonetisation move as "anti-farmer". Though Modi had not taken any name in his speech at the BJP rally in Ghazipur, an agitated Mayawati came down heavily on the prime minister repeatedly.
Alleging that almost all the economic activities in the country had come to a "halt" and the conditions today were similar to a "Bharat bandh", she said those waiting for "achhe din" (good days) were forced to face "burey din" (bad days) because of the demonetisation.
"Now, the pertinent question is what was the need for the BJP-led government to take a decision which affects the common people in such a big way in an immature and hurried manner," Mayawati said. "The prime minister says, preparations for demonetising the currency was on for the last 10 months and it has not been brought in a hurry...if that is so, why are the people not even getting a couple of thousands of rupees...ATMs are faulty and banks have no money," she added.
Accusing Modi of not even fulfilling "one-fourth of his poll promises", the BSP supremo asked the prime minister what had he done for the development of 'Purvanchal' and for the people of Uttar Pradesh.