Maya sparks off debate on PM's post
At unveiling of the Noida Park dedicated to Dalit leaders, the UP CM on Friday claimed Congress may install Sushil Kumar Shinde or Meira Kumar as Prime Minister 'to impress' the community
It was a day residents of Noida and indeed of other parts of the country were waiting for, with some trepidation.
UP chief minister Mayawati inaugurates Rashtriya Dalit Prerna
Sthal on Friday in Noida
On Friday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati inaugurated her dream park dedicated to dalit leaders in Noida.
With statues of 24 elephants - the symbol of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) - and of BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and herself, the 82-acre Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden has been making news, mostly for the reported Rs 700 crore spent on it.
With one eye set on the 2012 UP polls and perhaps another on the national elections in 2014, Maywati launched a scathing attack on both Congress and BJP, making myriad allegations and promises.
Accusing Congress of playing 'gimmicks' to woo dalits, the BSP supremo claimed Congress could install a dalit as the country's prime minister 'solely to impress' the community.
"Don't be surprised if the Congress now installs either former Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde or Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as prime minister for a brief period, solely to impress the dalit community," Mayawati told a massive gathering.
"I challenge the Congress party to try that out because I am confident that the dalits can see through the Congress party's repeated games that it had played over the years to woo them; let me tell you that no matter what it does, the Congress party won't be able to serve its objective of denting the my Dalit following, which will remain unaffected by all such gimmicks," she added.
Maya didn't forget to remind her constituency of who their true 'messiah' was. "Only BSP can bring a dalit PM and no one else," she claimed in her speech.
She also did not spare the BJP for initiating the disproportionate assets case against her.
Playing to the gallery
In an obvious bid to arouse sympathy of her dalit supporters, who converged at the new memorial cum park in tumultuous numbers, Mayawati highlighted how she was 'hounded' by the CBI in the Taj Corridor Case.
"I was falsely implicated in a disproportionate assets case by the BJP-led NDA government and even though Congress president Sonia Gandhi then promised to help me out after her party returned to power, she too conveniently forgot her promise and I am still fighting to get justice," she told the crowd.
Mayawati at the ceremony in Noida
Laying a lot of stress on her pro-Dalit assertions, Mayawati reiterated how she had been shooting off letters to the prime ministers to introduce reservations in the judiciary as well as the private sector. "It was a pity that the country's prime minister had not cared to respond to any of my letters in this regard," she pointed out.
All the traffic preparations of Noida police went out of gear. Traffic in and around Noida came to a standstill during Mayawati's visit. Thousands of party workers who all left at the same time from the programme venue created major traffic chaos.
Traffic police had advised commuters to avoid the stretch between Noida Gate and Mahamaya Flyover between 3pm and 7:30pm on Friday or to opt for alternative routes suggested in the official traffic advisory.
Buses of Maya supporters parked around the venue also caused problems. Cops were a little reticent in taking action. "I was returning from south Delhi to my home in Noida sector 15.
It takes around 30 minutes usually. But today I got stuck in a jam and it took me around two hours to get there," said Sandeep who owns a store of food supplements.
"I got stuck in a traffic jam below the City Centre Metro station for an hour and fifty minutes. Then I decided to change the route," said Rahul Goswami, a resident of Noida sector 21
Mayawati accused successive Congress governments of "building monuments after monuments for various members of the Gandhi-Nehru family".
She said, "If the Congress party has occupied all along the west bank of the Yamuna river in Delhi for building memorials of various Gandhis-Nehrus, I have raised this one memorial on the east bank of the Yamuna to honour the so-far neglected dalit icons like Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, Narayan Guru, Chattrapati Shauji Maharaj, Kanshi Ram and others."
She blamed the Congress-led UPA government for "creating unnecessary hurdles in the completion of the project".
"The Congress-led UPA regime left no stone unturned to stall my project, but I am grateful to the country's apex court for clearing these and eventually allowing us to go ahead with it; however it did get delayed by almost a year."