Accusing the Congress, BJP and SP of using the name of Dr B R Ambedkar to attract Dalit votes, BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday claimed these parties have no respect for Dalits and their icons.
Addressing a gathering of mostly Dalits at Ambedkar Memorial Park in Lucknow on Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, Mayawati said: “The Congress, which is now planning to celebrate a whole year with programmes in Ambedkar’s name, did not confer Bharat Ratna on him during its long tenure at the Centre… The BJP had also withdrawn support from the V P Singh government, which had given the due honour to Ambedkar.”
“Congress made Babasaheb lose an election from Mumbai by fielding a candidate against him and misusing money power and government machinery. The party should have ensured that he got elected unopposed. Now, it is shaken and was using Ambedkar’s name,” she added.
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In her first public address in the state since the Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati urged her supporters to bring BSP back to power.
Alleging that the NDA government was losing its popularity, Mayawati said it may accept the demands of conferring Bharat Ratna on BSP founder Kanshi Ram and declaring the bungalow in Delhi where Ambedkar breathed his last, a national memorial, to get Dalit votes in the UP elections.
“The RSS and BJP, which call Dalits as Hindus during elections, spread misinformation that their ideology is similar to that of Ambedkar’s. Had it been so, Ambedkar would not have converted to Buddhism, which is human and equal,” she added.
On Shiv Sena’s statement that voting rights of Muslims should be withdrawn, Mayawati said this was against the Constitution and the party should be ousted from the Union government. “What Shiv Sena has said today about Muslims will be said about Dalits and Backwards tomorrow,” she said while asking Muslims to unitedly vote for her as “only BSP can stop BJP from coming to power in UP”.
With Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav declaring a public holiday on Ambedkar’s death anniversary on December 6, Mayawati said this was done under pressure from its MLAs. “These MLAs had met me and offered to leave the SP, as they were angry over the discontinuation of welfare schemes named after Ambedkar and the government’s neglect of memorials and parks built in the BSP regime,” she alleged.
Mayawati said she had asked these MLAs not to resign and put pressure on the SP to declare a holiday on December 6.
She added that the money collected from the sale of entry tickets to memorials was being spent in Saifai — the CM’s ancestral village. On the recent launch of a project to install CCTV cameras in Lucknow, Mayawati said: “Even if the government installed such cameras in the whole of UP, law and order situation will not improve under the SP regime, as it shelters goons and mafia.”
Referring to unseasonal rainfall damaging crops, she said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is travelling abroad. Now, the CM is also leaving for abroad.” While Akhilesh on Monday left for Germany to take part in the Hannover Trade Fair, the PM is already in Germany. “Government officials have been distributing Rs 63 or Rs 100 as compensation to farmers whose crops have been damaged,” she added.
Alleging that the media will start playing negative stories against her once the elections come near, Mayawati said: “Opposition will manage the media and there could be stories about my money being invested in one or the other company… I challenge the media to prove that I have invested money in any company… If proven, I will retire from politics.”
Amid reports that companies linked to her brother Anand are being investigated, Mayawati said her family members have nothing to do with her and are free to do government jobs and run their businesses. “When those businesses are linked to me, does it not show the casteist mentality?” she asked.