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'I will fulfill Kanshi Ram's dream'
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | October 18, 2006 21:17 IST
The entire theme of her nearly one-hour-long speech to the tens of thousands of dalits who had converged in Lucknow to pay their last homage to Kanshi Ram, whose ashes were brought to be kept here for posterity, was aimed at justifying her as the sole inheritor of his political legacy.
She did not mince words when saying she not only deserved to don the mantle and that none other than herself would be able to fulfill the long cherished dream of both Kanshi Ram and the party icon Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
"It was on August 23, 2003, in this very city that Kanshi Ram had declared that he was entrusting the reins of his party to me and that he expected me to take his unfulfilled mission to its logical conclusion,", she told the mammoth gathering outside the Bahujan Prerna Bhawan (Inspiration Centre) , the resting place for her mentor's ashes.
Using the occasion to also justify her decision to associate upper caste Brahmins in a big way with her essentially dalit outfit, she also chose to declare war against her key sworn political adversary, chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party.
Earlier, thousands swarmed the streets of Lucknow, as Mayawati led the long procession carrying the ashes atop a blue-draped and flower bedecked truck.
The urn was initially brought to the Ambedkar Maidan -- a sprawling 25-acre ground created by Mayawati during her chief ministership. Thereafter it was brought to the Bahujan Prerna Kendra (Inspiration Centre) built by Mayawati as a living memorial for Kanshi Ram.
It took more than six hours to cover the 14-km route from Lucknow airport to the Prerna Kendra.
Dressed in a cream coloured salvar-suit and holding the copper urn containing Kanshi Ram's ashes, she climbed atop the rampart of the newly built imposing 60-feet tall stone structure in the heart of town, Mayawati exhorted the crowds to ensure an "absolute majority" for the party.
"You would fulfill the last wish of the party founder by striving hard to see that BSP rides on to the power pedestal in Uttar Pradesh entirely on its own, so that we can stay a full term and let people feel the difference between a lawless Mulayam -- ruled state and one where only the rule of law would prevail", Mayawati told the gathering amidst repeated applause.
She went on to add, "Remember Babasaheb Ambedkar got you the constitutional right to social equality, by ensuing voting rights, reserved electorates, reservations in government jobs; Kanshi Ram carried on his mission to get these rights implemented; and I am here to take that ahead and accomplish their unfulfilled dream."
Her unusually large audience that literally swarmed the city streets, disrupting normal life for hours, reposed their faith in her by theuir slogans � "Kanshi Ram ka mission Adhoora; karengi Behen Mayawati poora" (Kanshi Ram's unfulfilled mission would be completed by Mayawati) or 'Behenji tun sangharsh karo; hum tumhare saath hain' (Sister you go ahead with your struggle; we are with you") While Kanshi Ram was alive, the slogan used to be," Baba Ambedkar ka mission adhoora; karenge Kanshi Ram ji poora.
Clearly aware of the criticism by her detractors that she was deviating from the party's original objective by actively associating upper caste Brahmins with the dalit party, Mayawati sought to point out, "Babasaheb Ambedkar as well as Kanshi Ram always aimed at evolving a society with completely equality; and by inducting Brahmins into the party, I am fulfilling their ultimate dream of creating a social equilibrium."
As if to reinforce her argument, she went on to add, "This has helped change the 'manuvaadi' mindset of upper caste Brahmins who at one point of time would not even have allowed a dalit to get close to them."
She said, "It was this kind of 'samta-mulak samaj' (socially parallel set up) that both Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram has visualised", she pointed out.