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Exposure of assets & BSP's pro-Brahmin tilt bugs Mayawati
Polly Wilson in Lucknow | June 27, 2007 19:15 IST
Exposure of her Rs 52 crore worth of assets and the alleged pro-Brahmin tilt of the Bahujan Samaj Party by the media has really bugged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.
Even as she neither refuted ownership of the assets nor the appointment of her close confidante Satish Chandra Misra's relatives and associates on key positions, stories appearing in the media seemed to anger her no end.
More than the exposure of the huge assets acquired largely over the past three years, it was a report on a national TV network listing Misra's appointees that seemed to annoy her.
Sure enough, she had given a list of her assets in her own affidavit, accompanying the nomination papers for a vacant seat in the Upper House of state Legislature.
More than an hour of Mayawati's 100- minute long press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday, was devoted in defence of Misra, who besides being her party national general secretary was also the chief architect of her social engineering that propelled her party to victory in the state.
The press conference -- more in the nature of a prolonged monologue -- had an overdose of repeated warnings to the media to shun "mischievious and motivated reporting."
She claimed that the bulk of assets amounting to Rs 52 crore and acquired over the past three years, were received as "gifts" from her partymen. "Each penny is accounted for and explained before income-tax authorities," she asserted.
"Some people have been showing and publishing all kinds of baseless and motivated stories to run down Satish Misra; they cannot fathom the extent of Misra's contribution to the rise of the party to power in the state," she said.
Without refuting the contents of the TV report which gave out a list of Misra's appointees, she termed the story as a "vilification campaign" against both Misra and herself.
"If the mediapersons involved in spreading such malicious news stories think that they would gain something out of it, they are mistaken," she warned.
"If Misra's relatives have been appointed at various positions, it was not on his recommendation, but in recognition of the services rendered by him and his dedication towards the party," the chief minister sought to point out.
She then went on to give a detailed account of how Misra had displayed his unflinching loyalty to her and to the party.
She also went at length to cite each instance when Misra's advice as a an expert legal counsel helped her to tide over many a crisis. "Satish Misra's position of prominence in the party was no secret," she pointed out.
"Even Satish Misra's father, a retired high court chief justice, had made substantial contribution to the cause of the party by supporting him all the way when the younger Misra decided to abandon his lucrative court practice and join the BSP," she added.
In a bid to refute the TV report, she emphasised on proving that her party was not dominated by Brahmins.
"I can show you how I have given top positions to officials belonging to different castes -- my cabinet secretary is a jat, two principal secretaries in my personal secretariat as well as the state's principal home secretary are chamars, and the director general of police a rajput", she quipped.
She even narrated how Misra had refused to accept a ministerial berth until she persuaded him to accept one.
"Misra was reluctant to take up a minister's position because he was aware of the larger role I have assigned to him -- to carry out our future mission of establishing the party's credentials with the upper caste indifferent states of the country," Mayawati said.
She further made it a point to disclose a party secret. "Misra would resign in the next two-and-a-half months to undertake that mission -- and I am making his declaration here today so that you all do not start giving your own imaginary attributes to his resignation then," she sought to clarify.
She strongly defended the appointment of Satish Misra's sister Abha Agnihotri as chairperson of the state women's commission or that of his cousin Ankit Kumar Misra as the state's health minister even after losing the recent state Assembly election from Kanpur.
The TV channel story that chagrined Mayawati, had also given a list of several other Misra beneficiaries.
She also went about issuing veiled threats to expose such mediapersons who had availed "special favours from the past regimes under Samajwadi Party as well as Bharatiya Janata Party."
Mayawati, however, refused to answer any questions on the issue and chose to just walk away after finishing her monologue.