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Mulayam's show of strength against Mayawati in Lucknow
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 12, 2003 16:33 IST
Thousands of Samajwadi Party activists took to the streets behind party president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday in a demonstration against, what they called, Bahujan Samaj Party's corrupt and tyrannical rule.
Pointedly accusing Chief Minister Mayawati of institutionalising corruption, Mulayam charged her with "working against the interests of the working class, farmers and the poor and downtrodden."
Despite reports of impediments created by the administration in the movement of vehicles carrying SP workers from different parts of the state, they managed to gather at the party's state headquarters in Lucknow in large numbers .
Later, at least 25,000 of them marched down the city's major thoroughfares. Traffic restrictions and diversions were imposed to allow uninterrupted passage to the rallyists.
Apart from Mulayam, who addressed the party volunteers twice -- first at the party office and then in downtown Hazratganj -- several other prominent leaders of the party delivered speeches.
District Magistrate Navneet Sehgal had ordered closure of all schools in the wake of widespread apprehension of violence.
In their speeches, Mulayam and other SP leaders criticised Mayawati for her double standards in controlling crime. The alleged involvement of Mayawati's cabinet colleague, Amar Mani Tripathi, in the much publicised murder of a 24-year-old girl came in handy to SP leaders in labelling Mayawati as one who was promotes criminalisation of politics.
Referring to 136 cases filed against him by the Mayawati government, Mulayam said the government's vindictive approach could have easily trigger a civil war in Uttar Pradesh. "But we took the matter to the courts and courts were kind enough to grant me and my partymen prompt relief from her arbitrary actions."
Chief Minister Mayawati in a statement claimed that Mulayam was trying to pass the buck for his own failure to mobilise a large crowd by blaming the administration.
"Even his recent cycle rally had proven to be a damp squib and today's flop show will clearly convey [the message] that Mulayam has lost his support base completely," she said.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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