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Fund collection: Kanshi Ram defends Mayawati

January 16, 2003 09:33 IST

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram on Wednesday defended his one-time protege and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for the large-scale fund-raising for her 47th birthday.

"Since we have to take our party ahead, your goal should be to mobilise as much funds as possible, because you have to fight other parties that are loaded with money," Kanshi Ram told a gathering of supporters at the birthday celebrations organised by the state government.

"Now that you are in power, you must not overlook the fact that funds are important for the growth of the party, because our ultimate goal is to capture power in Delhi," he said.

Recalling the rise of his party, he sought to enumerate how he had groomed Mayawati into a politician. "But for a good financial standing, Mayawati would have become a member of Parliament way back in 1987 when she managed to reach the second position in the Lok Sabha elections.

"With much efforts we could muster up just about 87,000 rupees, which was grossly inadequate to fight the might of parties that were loaded with money. That was when I made up my mind that if we have to grow, we must build a financial backing for the party."

Kanshi Ram added, "I made it loud and clear to all my party members that I would accept only such invitations where the workers would give me currency notes equivalent to my weight. Subsequently, I revised it to equating this money to my age."

While lauding the party workers for collecting Rs 4 crores in the preceding year, he said, "I hope you all will achieve your target of fund collection in the new year also."

In her address, Mayawati tried to explain why she had observed her birthday both as Swabhiman Diwas and Arthik Sahyog Diwas.

"My sole mission in life has been to uphold the dignity and self-respect of the downtrodden dalits. Therefore, this day was named Swabhiman Diwas by the government. However, as a party we will continue observing this day as Arthik Sahyog Diwas with a view to strengthen the party's financial base," she said.

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