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Maya goes all out to keep MLAs happy,checks babus,ministers

Facing a bunch of restive MLAs after the BSP’s poor show in the Lok Sabha elections...

Written by Sanjay Singh | Lucknow |
May 21, 2009 9:26:55 am

Facing a bunch of restive MLAs after the BSP’s poor show in the Lok Sabha elections,UP Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday mollified them by promising to set up a new system to redress their grievances. In response to complaints that ministers and bureaucrats did not heed their concerns,Mayawati assured irate MLAs that she would ensure that they would not have to depend on them.

In the meeting of MLAs and ministers that she called to take stock of the situation,Mayawati gave unusually mellow responses to the uncharacteristically strident questions from her party members,patiently offering possible solutions to their problems.

The Chief Minister said there would be no transfers in any department for one year in a move that apparently aims to curtail the powers of ministers. Asking her MLAs to identify new seats that they would like to contest from in the next election after delimitation,Mayawati asked them to submit their reasons for choosing a particular constituency and promised to clear these applications promptly. In the event they were willing to wait for another five years,she told them,they could even identify a Lok Sabha constituency instead.

Mayawati also promised her MLAs that she would ensure that the bureaucracy adequately addresses their concerns. “The CM’s principal secretaries would not show any laxity in the matters that a party MLAs takes to them. The officers would directly contact the head of department concerned and get the work done within a week,” said a BSP MLA. “If Pancham Tal (fifth floor,a euphemism for the CM’s secretariat) fails to deliver results,we would approach the party’s national general secretary and Mines Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha in the party office. He would be available for us from Monday to Friday between 11 am to 1 pm daily,” he added.

Insiders in the party said that some MLAs complained to Mayawati that they were ignored at the level of the thana and tehsil,whereas Samajwadi Party MLAs and party workers had much more clout during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regime. However,a stern Mayawati retorted that this was the reason the SP had been routed in the 2007 Assembly elections.

There were other cracks in the newly softened veneer of the ‘disciplinarian’ leader as well but they were quickly glossed over. “On one occasion,she threatened to leave the meeting and even rose from her chair. But within seconds,she calmed down and took her seat,” disclosed an MLA,adding that Mayawati was miffed when a group of MLAs started talking loudly in unison.

However,the Chief Minister admitted before party members the failure of “bhaichara (caste) committees in the election. She focused her speech on her party’s unsuccessful efforts to ensure alliances between various castes at the ground level,but did not assign blame. Instead,she said she understood the difficulties faced by MLAs in transferring the votes of their caste to Lok Sabha candidates belonging to a different community. She instructed MLAs to focus on the party’s core voters,meaning the SCs,but also to make efforts to bring other communities like Lohars,Dhobis and Nais into the party fold.

The final assurance that she gave her MLAS was that she would not entertain complaints against them from defeated candidates. “She knows that some MLAs deliberately tried to damage the prospects of the party candidate,but made it clear that their number is very small,” another source said. However,Mayawati reminded her MLAs that unlike the past,when she was chief minister of a coalition,this time it was a BSP government and there was no scope to blame anyone else for the party’s failure.

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