Maya’s Maya on the wane
Not only is she losing her party's support base, the Brahmins and Dalits too are leaving Mayawati
Pradeep Kapoor Lucknow
BSP supremo Mayawati is facing tough times. She is almost isolated politically and her traditional Dalit vote bank is eroding. Her much-touted social engineering has failed. To top it all, there are a slew of cases against her including disproportionate assets and Taj heritage corridor case in the Supreme Court.
The opposition parties in UP are gaining in strength and readying to take her on. The tide turned sharply against her after the general elections results were out. Not only did she perform poorly at the polls, but parties which projected her as a possible prime minister before the polls, effectively deserted her.
After the Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati returned to her singular Dalit agenda when she realised that her social engineering strategy, which brought her to power in UP in 2007, has failed. During her series of review meetings, she blamed Muslims and Brahmins for not voting for her party in the Lok Sabha polls. As a result, she announced that Satish Chandra Mishra and Nasimuddin Siddiqui would no longer be the Brahmin and the Muslim face of BSP. She sacked or removed several officials and party leaders. She declared that her successor would only be a Dalit. Mayawati also directed her officers to take steps to prevent atrocities on Dalits and expedite development work in Dalit villages.
Meanwhile, her counter-reaction against UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's house has boomeranged when Joshi's Lucknow house was burnt and ransacked, allegedly by BSP members. Joshi's arrest and imprisonment has been condemned by all political parties. Ironically, BSP leader MM Intezar Abdi alias Bobby, who has been named in the FIR for burning Joshi's house, has been rewarded with a minister of state status. He has been appointed chairman of the UP Ganna Kisan Sansthan.
Joshi had earlier vehemently criticised the government for sending the director-general of police by a helicopter to pay a few thousands of rupees as compensation to rape victims from the Dalit community. In that context, she made remarks about Mayawati in Moradabad, which were uncalled for. Joshi later apologised. But her criticism of the DGP has been vindicated. The UP government has now withdrawn the controversial order to send the DGP by helicopter with compensation for rape victims.
Meanwhile, Joshi has demanded a CBI probe into the way her house was burnt and ransacked. Now, for the Congress, it's an all-out
war against Mayawati. Joshi said that the Congress will chalk out strategy for the fight on August 4 in Lucknow in the presence of Rahul Gandhi.
Mayawati was quick to cash in on Joshi's remarks against her. She called Joshi and the Congress anti-Dalit. She even blamed the Congress for ignoring the Dalits since independence. She went on an offensive against Rahul Gandhi and released a white paper on the power crisis. She blamed the Congress-led government at the Centre for ignoring the power sector.
Rahul retorted during his visit to Amethi by condemning the manner in which people were assaulted by the police in his constituency when they were protesting against poor power supply. In Amethi, Rahul said that the main priority of the Mayawati government is to build statues, elephants and memorials. He pointed out that the Congress-led UPA government was sending crores of rupees for NREGA schemes but it was not being distributed properly in districts.
Buta Singh, chairman of SC and ST Commission, also stood by Joshi. He said that slapping the SC/ ST Act on her is a misuse of law. He even said that UP topped in atrocities against Dalits. He claimed in a statement that he had sent a circular to the UP government that the SC/ ST Act would only be invoked in cases of murder and rape.
The Mayawati government has also been accused of interfering in the Right to Information Act in UP when it withdrew certain provisions and kept many departments out of its purview. It was only when a Congress delegation met Governor TV Rajeshwar that the government was forced to take back the order.
Demoralisation is also setting in the bureaucracy. Former officials, SN Shukla and Prakash Singh, moved the court against frequent transfers of IAS and IPS officers in UP. Accusing Mayawati of pushing the state towards chaos and anarchy, major political parties met the governor and submitted memoranda.
The Samajwadi Party delegation led by Shivpal Singh Yadav raised the issue of victimisation of political opponents. SP alleged its 8,000 workers were booked under the Goonda Act in Kannauj. In Gonda district, 19 persons were booked under the Goonda Act, two of them are physically handicapped. The SP also alleged that several thousands crores of rupees were spent on erecting statues and building parks when the same money could have been used for uplifting the poor.
The SP has complained of deteriorating law and order in UP, kidnapping for ransom, atrocities on Dalits and women, lathicharge by police on peaceful agitation of lawyers in Gonda, sale of 35 government sugar mills and hotels of UP tourism to private parties even though they were making profits. They also complained of corruption in the mining department and the nexus between mafia and government officers.
The BJP leaders including MPs and MLAs marched to the Governor House and submitted a memorandum. They urged the governor to intervene in order to stop the misuse of SC/ ST Act in UP. BJP alleged that bogus cases were being registered under this Act. They also alleged of a collapse of law and order in UP and rise in atrocities against women.
Mayawati is unnerved by the fact that party workers are losing interest in BSP's programmes, the Brahmins and Muslims are leaving her, even her Dalit support base is shifting. This was evident in the total failure of the Sharam Karo Diwas called by Mayawati to protest against Joshi's remarks, UPA and price rise. Although the BSP had organised meetings in all assembly constituencies, participation by party workers was poor. Clearly, Mayawati's popularity graph is fast declining.