For the first time since the formation of the BSP Government in the state 20 months ago,on Thursday Chief Minister Mayawati threw open her doors to her party MLAs and heard their problems whether personal or those related to their constituencies. During her one-on-one meetings with the MLAs,she did not talk about anything else,not even her birthday celebrations.
In the past,Mayawati has always communicated with her MLAs through her aides,senior party functionaries,and ministers. At the MLAs meetings,she has been the one to speak while the others were all expected to just listen. If and when others were allowed to speak,they spoke only briefly. This had led to a murmur in the party that she had become inaccessible.
On Thursday,post the meeting,the BSP MLAs looked happy. Behenji has changed; she seemed keen to listen to our problems. There was no time limit given to any of the MLAs. We were free to put forward our opinions, said one of them.
The MLAs were largely being handled by her officers. She had very little direct communication with them. It is a good beginning. The Chief Minister cant remain incommunicado for long, said another MLA.
There may not be any immediate challenge to Mayawatis leadership. But it is important that she keeps her MLAs in good humour,as later this month the state is going to witness legislative council elections and the Lok Sabha polls are also round the corner. Also,the opposition parties are planning to organise statewide protests against alleged extortion regarding her birthday celebrations.
Mayawatis action comes in the wake of the Rajasthan episode wherein all the MLAs of her party had supported the Congress Government,headed by Ashok Gehlot. Perhaps she has taken a lesson from that episode. The problem in Rajasthan had erupted because she had no direct contact with the MLAs. The crisis was resolved only when she spoke to the MLAs over the phone, a party leader said.
The meetings were scheduled division-wise. MLAs belonging to a particular division were invited to meet the CM one after the other. Since it was a special occasion,the MLAs had come prepared with the issues they wanted to bring to her notice. They also took care to dress appropriately.