Dividends in disguise
The statue vandalising episode proved fruitful for the BSP in more than one way. Before the Assembly elections,all parties criticised Mayawati for installing her own statues. Some opposition leaders even likened her to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had threatened to bulldoze the memorials,built by her government. But after her statue was vandalised,the SP government hurriedly replaced the damaged statue in less than 24 hours. The Congress and the BJP condemned the vandalism and criticised the government machinerys failure to prevent it. This was the first time that the two national parties were actually sympathetic to the BSP. Further,those who damaged the statue were booked under Section 295A of the IPC,which reads as deliberate and malicious acts,intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. This indirectly meant the government accepted Mayawati as a venerated Dalit figure.
Why did the BSP leaders block roads after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had told Leader of the Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya over telephone that a new statue would be installed at the earliest possible? Sources said that in the evening BSP leaders got to know that a replacement statue was actually available and work would begin soon. The information was duly passed on to Mayawati. She realised that the BSP would lose the opportunity to score political points after the statue was installed. BSP leaders were,therefore,asked to go out and block roads for two hours before work on the installation of the new statue began. Thus,the BSP succeeded in creating an impression that the government acted in panic after its protest. behind the curtains
The morning after BSP trio Naseemuddin Siddiqui,Swami Prasad Maurya and Ram Achal Rajbhar met Governor BL Joshi and urged him to recommend imposition of Presidents rule in the state. Yet,after expressing their total lack of faith in the Akhilesh Yadav government,their next stop was the chief ministers office where they demanded a judicial inquiry into the vandalism. Then they briefed the media. But they did not share certain other things with the media. For example,Siddiqui gave the Chief Minister an application,urging him to post a DSP in Mayawatis security. Rajbhar gave an application,complaining of fake cases lodged against party workers and his acquaintances in his native district Ambedkar Nagar after the change of government.
The circulation of Amit Janis photos with Mulayam Singh Yadav after the breaking of Mayawatis statue left SP leaders red faced. They have been advised to be careful about who they are photographed with. Usually,the SP office sends a private photographer with top leaders and the pictures are archived. Workers who get clicked with the leaders later get their snaps from the SP office. Now,the party is thinking of getting very selective in giving out pictures from its archives.