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Mayawati goes to town on completing one year
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 03, 2003 15:45 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati completes a year in office today. And like her predecessors, she too has made it a point to let the world know about it. After all completing 365 days in the high office is no mean achievement for most politicians today.
But seasoned political observers aren't too impressed by the lady's loud pronouncements on how she has left all her past incumbents far behind. Mayawati in one of the many booklets issued on the occasion claims to have drastically curbed crime and its practitioners. But critics say her action against criminals is 'laced with double-standards' as she lets 'friendly' outlaws off the hook.
As the state Samajwadi Party chief Ram Saran Das puts it bluntly: "Mayawati may harp on her dalit origin each time her misdeeds are exposed, but her one year in office speaks volumes of a totalitarian rule where the fundamentals of the democratic process were systematically throttled."
One critic says Mayawati has made herself inaccessible to people. Seventeen-crore commoners apart, her ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is also miffed at her for not allowing its leaders to enter her official residence. A senior BJP leader told rediff.com: "She did away with the janta durbar. This was then followed up by unprecedented restrictions even on the entry of ministers, senior bureaucrats or police officials. Even the privileged few who can enter her official residence are required to remove their footwear." Other than her own self, Mayawati's does not permit anybody - including men in uniform - to walk in with shoes.
Mayawati has also shut the entire Kalidass Marg to all and sundry. Even visitors to the residences of high court judges or other ministers living down the road have to park their vehicles outside the Marg and walk up to their destinations.
The BJP is also angry with her for continuously rubbing the party the wrong. Mayawati's none too deferential attitude towards the ruling partner is amply spelt out in the 48-page coloured booklet published by the department of information to list out her 'achievements' over the year.
Titled Unki Disha, Hamare Prayas, the booklet does have Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on each page, but there is virtually no mention of her one-time mentor Kanshi Ram.
Critics also point fingers at Mayawati for 'setting new standards in funds mobilisation' for the party. Mayawati had issued coupons for money collection on her birthday and was caught on videotape exhorting her party legislators to contribute a portion of the funds earmarked for their constituencies to the party.
During the year Mayawati has also acquired a reputation for being intolerant towards political rivals. The latest instance was the slapping of more than 100 cases on a single day against her biggest political rival and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Lending substance to the charge that Mayawati is creating a personality cult her media managers recently roped in top Bollywood singers to record eulogies in praise of her.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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