Two women were on Sunday killed and at least 12 people injured in a stampede after a massive rally by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati at the Kanshi Ram Smarak Maidan.
“A few people coming down the stairs at one of the two gates lost balance and fell on each other. Shanti Devi, 68, of Bijnore and another unidentified woman were killed in the incident due to suffocation,” police said.
Rumours of a live power line having snapped triggered the stampede. The injured have been rushed to a local hospital, a BSP spokesperson said.
Party’s state unit chief Ram Achal Rajbhar, however, said the women died due to humidity and heat.
The BSP workers had gathered in large numbers at the ground on party founder Kanshi Ram’s 10th death anniversary.
At the rally, BSP chief Maywati cautioned Muslims that voting for Samajwadi Party or Congress will only help BJP and sought their support “to stop” the saffron party.
Muslims should not waste their vote as there is infighting in Samajwadi Party and Congress lacks a voter base in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati said while addressing the rally.
“Ever since the BJP government has come at the Centre, Muslims and other minorities are being subjected to bias. The minority status of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia is being snatched away.
“Communal forces are becoming stronger and Muslims are being targeted in the name of love jihad, ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection) and religious conversion,” the BSP supremo alleged launching a scathing attack on the Modi government.
Mayawati also made it clear that her party will go alone in the three states going to polls early next year -- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab, and cautioned the people against any canard that BSP might enter into an understanding for forming as government with the BJP in case it fell short of majority.
She said there was no truth in these rumours which were being spread to divide Muslim votes and asserted that such a situation will not arise.
Coming down heavily on the ruling Samajwadi Party, Mayawati said because of “rampant crime and anarchy” incidents such as Muzaffarnagar, Dadri, Mathura and Bulandshahr have occurred and promised to restore rule of law in Uttar Pradesh.
“There is a tussle for supremacy going on in the SP between Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh Yadav and brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and its result will be that the Yadav vote will split as each will try to ensure the defeat of candidates owing allegiance to the other,” Mayawati said.
“In such circumstances Muslims should not waste their ballot by voting for them or else it will help the BJP.... Similarly Congress does not have a vote base and voting for it will also benefit BJP,” Mayawati said.
“To stop the BJP, the vote should not go to either the Samajwadi Party or the Congress as with every assembly seat having 22 to 23 per cent Dalit votes, BSP can sail through with the help of Muslim votes or else the same scenario can emerge that was seen in 2014,” she stressed.
Mayawati, who had faced criticism for spending hundreds of crores of rupees in setting up memorials of herself, Kanshi Ram and B R Ambedkar, said her party will not construct any more memorials.
Mayawati lashed out at the BJP saying its condition in UP is “most dismal”.
“The BJP is in such a bad shape that it is depending on rejected or expelled leaders of other parties or those who have committed atrocities on their own family members,” she alleged.
Without naming him, she trained her guns at former party leader Swami Prasad Maurya terming him as “bhashanbaaz” leader who had said unsavoury things against Hindu gods and Swati Singh, wife of expelled BJP leader Dayashankar Singh.
The BSP chief also criticised the BJP “for making a beeline to the state for laying the foundation stones of schemes which are nowhere to be seen”.
She said backward and upper caste votes have not voted en-mass for any one section but this time round that may not be the case.
Alleging that Uttar Pradesh was reeling under “goonda” and “jungle raj”, she said the state needed a BSP government and voting the party to power will be a true homage to Kanshi Ram.
Criticising the Congress, Mayawati said that it has projected a Brahmin woman as its chief ministerial candidate in UP who during her stint as the chief minister of Delhi had “held the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar responsible for spreading filth and used the funds meant for Dalit welfare on other heads because of her anti-Dalit mentality”.
“In such a scenario people will not accept Congress and its CM candidate even if its top leader resorts to any drama or goes about promising that power bills will be halved once its government comes to power,” Mayawati said referring to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Deoria to Dilli kisan rath yatra’ which ended recently.
Rejecting the claims of Congress that its governments had waived loans worth Rs. 70,000 crore of farmers, she said that it had benefited only the affluent farmers sitting in AC rooms while the small and medium farmers were left empty handed.
“In the name of development the government is only laying foundation stones and holding inaugurations and crores of rupees are being spent on advertisements which could be spent on welfare works,” she said.
She claimed that the very few works of development which have been carried out by this government are the ones which were started during the previous BSP government headed by her.
“They have only changed the names of our schemes...at the government and administrative level, mostly the corrupt officials, favourite of the Yadav family, have their hold since the very beginning,” she alleged.
“Development and crime control in UP have come to a halt,” she said alleging the SP government’s term has been “dismal, casteist, biased and ridden with political vendetta”.
“It is unfortunate that the central governments, both previous and present, have not fulfilled their constitutional obligations due to their political motives,” Mayawati said.