LUCKNOW: Two days after announcing alliance with once an arch rival Samajwadi Party to in upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati , who turned 63 on Tuesday, exhorted workers of both the parties yet again to bury the hatchet, forget the bitter past and work together to achieve the bigger goal of uprooting BJP government from the Centre.
She made the fervent appeal to her party cadre while reading out a long written text to the media in her typical style on the occasion of her 63rd birthday in state capital Lucknow on Tuesday. “If the BSP and SP workers work in tandem putting all their difference aside to ensure victory of the newly-cobbled up
alliance in Uttar Pradesh, that will be the ideal and the most precious birthday gift for me,” read the BSP chief.
On Saturday, BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav had announced their electoral alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections at a joint press conference in Lucknow. Both have decided to share 38 each of total 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state leaving Amethi and Rae Bareli for Congress and remaining two seats for smaller allies.
Playing the Muslim card on the occasion, Mayawati demanded quota for Muslims community in government jobs and reservation based on economic status. She welcomed the recently passed 10 per cent quota bill for economically weaker sections but with a rider that it was ill- planned like GST and Demonetisation and brought in a hurry. The BSP chief buttressed her demand for Muslim quota by saying that the Muslim representation in the government jobs was on a decline for decades now.
“There was a time when Muslims had almost 33% representation in government jobs but today, it has come down to merely 2-3 per cent. They are also being targeted as was seen in the recent past when there was an issue related to offering Friday prayers,” maintained the BSP chief.
Mayawati pitching in for Muslims is a step to woo minority community which makes a respectable 19.6 per cent of electoral population in the state and play a decisive role in elections, especially, when Congress also claims Muslims as one of its constituencies. The pro-Muslim narrative becomes all the more significant as Congress has been kept out of the UP alliance and its prospects of winning over muslim votes were prominent.
Mayawati sharpened her attack on the Congress and the BJP alike on a number of issues including farmers’ woes and corruption. Reiterating that the SP-BSP alliance had made the saffron party jittery,
she claimed that people had given their verdict about the BJP government by rejecting it in five states recently.
“Not only the BJP, the Congress also needs to be taught a lesson or two. People have started raising fingers at the Congress governments in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. They are trying to deceive the farmers in the name of loan waiver,” she said.
The BSP chief touched the issue of Prime Ministership in a subtle way by claiming that majority of times UP had given the Prime Minister to the country. “I hope this time also, the Prime Minister will
be from Uttar Pradesh,” she averred.
In fact, Mayawati’ prime ministerial ambitions are not hidden. Her hardened stand towards Congress can also be attributed to her aspirations. As the political pundits feel she is targeting Congress consistently as she wants to keep the grand old party at a very safe distance so as to maintain a space for
herself to negotiate on the PMship and does not want to give a green signal to Rahul Gandhi whose name is pushed every now and then by opposition leaders as next PM.
Dwelling on farm loan waiver at length during her discourse, the former UP CM demanded the government to implement Swaminathan report to address the agrarian crisis in the country. “The government will have to look for a permanent, long term solution to take the farmers out of the debt trap. Small amounts will do no favour to their problems,” said the BSP chief.
She said the loan waiver policy, which has been launched by the Congress in states, for farmers was wrong. “The relief provided to the farmers who have taken loan from bank is inadequate. Majority of the farmers take loan from money lenders. The central and state governments should make policy to provide them a relief,” she said and added that the government should give 100% farm loan waiver else farmer suicides would continue.
Keeping the Congress and the BJP at equal distance, the BSP supremo demaned transparcy in defence deals and a long term policy for such issue. She cautioned the people against BJP’s tall and hollow promises in the wake of upcoming polls and claimed that they made never to be fulfilled.