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Delhi: Mayawati has arrived with a bang
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | May 25, 2007 17:35 IST
Last Updated: May 26, 2007 16:12 IST
Not a soul in New Delhi is unaware that Mayawati is in town.
Mayawati has arrived with a bang. Her Lutyens bungalow in a bylane of Humayun Road is decorated as if some Rajasthani maharaja of yore has returned from the battleground after conquering enemy territory.
It's there for everyone to see, the huge arches and all; plus the show of wealth the Bahujan Samaj Party has seemed to acquire.
She preferred to meet mediapersons in the most expensive meeting place, the ballroom of Oberoi Hotel.
While announcing her political agenda loud and clear, she gave an idea to listeners about the killer instinct she possesses.
First, she cleared the air by saying that she is with the ruling class of New Delhi.
She wants to be with the United Progressive Alliance and on her first visit to New Delhi after her historic and stunning victory, she has only two appointments besides meeting the so-avoidable crowds, ie, the press.
"Sampradayik takto ke khilaf" (against communal forces) she will fight and that is the reason behind her being with the UPA, she said.
Then, she told us that Madame Sonia Gandhi has called her for tea today. Meaning, the Congress president took the initiative to repair relations with her.
New Delhi only recognises winners, she reminded us without saying so.
She told mediapersons in the overcrowded ballroom that she will discuss the issue of India's next president with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Till then she won't speak a word about it. It's almost clear that Mayawati is unlikely to support any Dalit or backward caste person for the President's post.
Some analysts have said that since she dreams of capturing power in New Delhi, she would not like another Dalit personality in the corridors of power sharing her kind of background.
Obviously, she will make sure that no other Dalit leader grows in contemporary power politics. Then, she kept repeating, "Mujhe shaasan bhi to karna hai, mujhe sarkar bhi to chalani hai" ( I have to rule, too. I have to run the government as well). Meaning she wants to do her bit for the development of Uttar Pradesh.
She has arrived in the capital with a plane full of officers and assistants and of course, her confidant, advisor and shadow Satish Chandra Mishra who was on the dais with her and also at the lunch table."The PM (Dr Manmohan Singh) has called me for lunch tomorrow," she said.
More than 200 scribes were present to see how this gutsy woman cuts them to size.
"Aapko to sawal poochna bhi nahin ata hai. Aap to so rahe the. Aap ko to kuch pata hi nahin" (You don't know how to ask questions. Were you sleeping? You simply don't know anything), she blunted mediapersons' questions without even blinking.
She was at ease responding to questions about her predecessor Mulayam Singh Yadav, and issued her usual round of threats to corrupt officers and goondas of Uttar Pradesh.
With Mayawati nothing is ambigious when the issue of Dalits is posed before her.When a journalist asked her that land (title of land known as pattas) in Uttar Pradesh is mostly in hands of the upper caste and whether she was going to transfer land rights to Dalits, Maywati said, "101 per cent we will transfer the land to Dalits."
When asked awkward questions the 'master of social engineering' Mayawati told reporters, "Khana thanda ho raha hai" (The food is getting cold).
Although journalists failed to get any idea of what's on her mind and her vision for the future, she succeeded in sending across her message with grit on her face and bluntness in her words.
And, she also exhibited how her entourage is absolutely under her command.
Tomorrow, she will be taking a long list of demands to Dr Singh.
After the press conference, during lunch (a four-course lunch was served to her in a corner of the hall), she told mediapersons, "I will meet all of you, let me first settle down."
She even avoided senior and seasoned reporters without letting them know that she was doing so.
Journalists and politicians in New Delhi know that Mayawati is smart and intelligent, but they don't really know how smart the Dalit queen is.
When asked, "Mayawatiji, your party has given a call to cadres to look forward to New Delhi after winning Lucknow," she corrected the journalist, "My party hasn't given such a call. It's the people's wish. Logon ki ichcha hai BSP ko age badhna hai. Kya ye boori baat hai?" (Is there anything wrong if people wish that the BSP should move ahead?)