Meira Kumar or Shinde as new PM to be Cong's next gimmick: Maya
Accusing the Congress of playing gimmick after gimmick to woo dalits, Bahuijan Samaj Party supremo and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on Friday predicted that the next game of the party would be to install a Dalit as the country's prime minister.
"Don't be surprised if the Congress now installs either former Maharastra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde or Lok Sabha Speaker Meera Kumar as prime minister for a brief period -- solely to impress the Dalit community," she said during the inauguration of her multi-billion dream project -- Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden at Noida on Friday evening.
"While the Congress never allowed Jagjivan Ram to become prime minister simply because he was a Dalit, their desperation to win over the community is now compelling them to now put up a Dalit PM, but only for a brief while," she quipped.
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Image: Former Maharashtra CM Sushil Kumar Shinde and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar
'Cong won't be able to dent my Dalit following'
At the function, the UP CM sounded the bugle for the launch of her party's campaign for the forthcoming 2012 state assembly elections.
With an obvious eye on the by-polls, she said, "I am confident that the Dalits of this country can see through the Congress party's repeated games. Let me tell you that no matter what it does, the Congress party will never be able to serve its objective of denting the my Dalit following."
Terming the gigantic 82-acre memorial-cum-park as the first of its kind in the country, she said, "I had to undertake this project because successive governments of different political parties never cared to give recognition to the rich contribution of these social reformers, simply because they were drawn from the most downtrodden strata of society."
Taking on the entire opposition that has been highly critical of her government's extravagance on projects like this one, Mayawati said, "First of all I would like to point out that the total expenditure on all the monuments that I have built during my tenure in honour of various Dalit icons did not work out to more than one per cent of my government's annual budget."
Image: Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati
'I have built memorial for Dalit icons neglected by Cong'
She went on to further clarify, "And let me add that if successive governments including the Congress party which headed most regimes, had shown some consideration and given the Dalit heroes their due, I would not have had to take up the task."
Mayawati made it a point to also draw everybody's attention to what she termed as discrimination particularly by Congress governments, which she said, "went on building monuments after monuments for various members of the Gandhi-Nehru family."
She said, "If the Congress has occupied the West bank of the Yamuna river in Delhi by building memorials for the Gandhis and Nehrus, I have raised this one memorial on the East bank of the Yamuna to honour the so far neglected Dalit icons like Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedlkar, Jyotiba Phule, Narayan Guru, Chattrapati Shauji Maharaj, Kanshi Ram and others."
Image: The Dalit memorial park in Noida was inaugurated by Mayawati
'UPA left no stone unturned to stall my project'
Blaming the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for "creating unnecessary hurdles in the completion of the project", Mayawati sought to add, "well the Congress-led UPA regime left no stone unturned to stall my project, but I am grateful to the country's apex court for clearing it and eventually allowing us to go ahead with it. However, it did get delayed by almost a year."
The UP chief minister made it a point to repeatedly train her guns on the Congress, whose all powerful general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been trying hard to made inroads into Mayawati's Dalit forte in Uttar Pradesh by spending a night at a Dalit's hut or sharing a meal with a Dalit family in one of the most backward regions of the state.
Image: PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi
'NDA falsely implicated me in disproportionate assets case'
Mayawati also did not spare the Bharatiya Janata Party for initiating the disproportionate assets case against her. In an obvious bid to arouse sympathy of her Dalit supporters, who converged at the new memorial in tumultuous numbers, she even went to highlight how she was "hounded " by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Taj Corridor case.
"I was falsely implicated in a disproportionate assets case by the BJP-led NDA government and even though Congress President Sonia Gandhi promised to help me out after her party returned to power, she too conveniently forgot her promise and I am still fighting to get justice," she told the audience amidst cheers.
Laying a lot of stress on her pro-Dalit assertions, she reiterated how she had been shooting off letters to the prime minister to introduce reservations in the judiciary as well as in the private sector. "It was a pity that the prime minister had not cared to respond to any of my letters in this regard," she pointed out.
She used the mega event to the party's political advantage at the coming elections, where she apparently sees both the Congress and BJP as her key rivals. Surprisingly, there was no venom spewed by her against her one time sworn adversary -- the Samajwadi Party.