BSP supremo Mayawati Friday sought to reassure voters that if elected to power again in Uttar Pradesh, her government would no longer build monuments, statues and museums. The former CM said at a rally in Muzaffarnagar that she would instead focus her efforts on safety, security and development.
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Addressing the packed rally in Muzaffarnagar’s Numaish ground, Mayawati said, “Aap logon ko fir se awgat karana chahati hoon ab pradesh mein, aage naye smarak, sangharalay, murti staphit nahin ki jayegi, kyonki ye sabhi kaarya meri pichli rahi sarkaron me hi poore kiye ja chuke hain. Iss baar meri poori taaqat har starr par pradesh ki janta ko surakshit rakhne wa unhe vikasit karne ke taraf hi lagayi jayegi. (I want to reassure you that this time there will be no more new monuments, museums and statues because I have done all of this during my last tenure. This time I will devote all my energy and time to ensure the safety, security and development of the state).”
The statues and monuments, commissioned by Mayawati soon after winning the Assembly polls in 2007, drew criticism from opposition parties and further construction was stayed by the Supreme Court following a PIL. The statues included those of Buddha, Sant Ravidas, Sant Kabir, Dr B R Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati herself.
BSP sources said the commissioning of statues and memorials of Mayawati and party leaders had made voters wary of choosing the BSP over the Samajwadi Party or the BJP. “There is no doubt about her track record as an administrator, particularly in law and order, but voters from other communities have always viewed the BSP warily due to this issue. Behenji has clarified this once and for all,” said a senior BSP leader.
Apart from reassuring voters about her agenda if voted to power, Mayawati unleashed a broadside against the NDA government at the Centre and the SP in the state. She attacked the BJP for demonetisation, the “failed” Budget and for allegedly planning to stop reservation, and the SP for a poor law and order track record and for “backing” land grabbers.
“If the BJP or the SP forms the government in UP, it will become narak (hell) for everybody. Crime will increase and, mark my words, communal riots will erupt again. Remember, communal riots do not just happen, but are planned and made to happen,” she said.
Mayawati also appealed to all communities to not just think about the upcoming elections, but the future. “Who gets hurt in communal riots that other political parties cause? Not them, but the innocent, common man. Politicians are never affected. I appeal to all Hindus, Muslims and other religions, do not fight among yourselves, you have to live here. You cannot allow hatred,” she said.
She held the SP government responsible for the violence that swept the region in 2013. “They could have stopped it if they wanted to. Do not let such people succeed,” she said.
Her hour-long speech was replete with three refrains that highlight her party’s precarious support from communities other than the core BSP Dalit electorate. She made at least eight references to “Dalit, backward and minority communities” and at least nine references to “the poor, labourers and farmers” in UP.
The SP government’s poor law and order track record too found ample mention. “The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, the Dadri incident, Bulandshahr and Mathura were just a few incidents the SP could not control. I assure you, if voted to power again, people who should be in jail will be in jail and people who are in jail on false complaints will be set free,” she said.
The former CM also referred to migration in UP — a BJP poll agenda after Kairana MP Hukum Singh alleged that dozens of families migrated out of the region fearing ‘one particular community’. “The Congress ruled for 37 years and owing to lack of employment, people migrated out of UP. The same happened when the BJP ruled for six years and during the SP government. In fact, after note bandi, people who were working outside were forced to either come back home or starve, that is the BJP legacy. Only the haathi can ensure development for UP,” she said.