I didn't marry for the sake of helping the downtrodden: Maya
In what was seen as a desperate emotional appeal to hold her stock together, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said in Lucknow on Sunday that she chose to remain single because she did not want to lose focus from her devotion to the cause of dalits and other downtrodden castes.
"I did not marry because I did not want to deviate from my commitment to the cause of the downtrodden," she declared amidst cheers at an impressive rally of dalits and backward castes at the sprawling Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow.
The much hyped 'dalit-backward bhaichara sammellan' (scheduled castes -- backward classes unity meet) was convened by Mayawati as a part of her party's preparation ahead of the 2012 state assembly election, which poses the biggest challenge to her.
Maywati went on to add, "And remember that even my relationship with my family members, including my father, mother, brothers and sisters will continue only as long as they are devoted to the cause of the Bahujan Samaj Party."
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Image: UP Chief Minister Mayawati
'Elephant giving nightmares to Rahul'
She took the opportunity to also explain why, of late, she had given special significance to her younger brother, who was currently even referred to as 'mini CM' in Noida, Greater Noida , Ghaziabad and Meerut districts that were metaphorically recognised as the state's 'gold-mines.'
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's forays into Uttar Pradesh also appeared to be high on Mayawati's mind . What apparently seemed to be her biggest worry was Rahul's five-day tour of certain pockets of Eastern UP that concluded Saturday evening.
Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party remained Mayawati's target yet again in her more than an hour long speech. And she chose to virtually give a word to word reply to Rahul's attacks over the past five days.
While accusing Rahul of being obsessed with the ruling BSP symbol -- elephant -- she said, "It appears that our elephant keeps visiting the Congress yuvraj in his dreams, otherwise why should he be making all kinds of remarks against the elephant?"
She was reacting to Rahul's sarcastic remark about Mayawati's corrupt governance at a rally in Padrauna on Saturday, where he said, "Everyone knows that elephant feeds on grass and plants, but Mayawati's elephant feeds on notes."
Recalling her party's old slogan, she quipped, "Chalega haathi, uregi dhool; Na rahega panja na rahega phool (when the elephant moves, it is bound to raise dust; and that will wipe out not only the hand (Congress symbol) but also the flower (representing BJP)."
Image: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi
'If Cong comes to power, UP will become no 1 bankrupt state'
On Rahul's charge about large scale pilferage of MNREGS funds released by the Centre, the UP chief minister claimed, "Let me tell you that the funds that flow for MNREGS were not any kind of largesse by the Centre but just a fraction of what the state gives away in the form of taxes to the centre."
She went on to also declare, "Once the BSP forms its government at the centre, we will ensure employment to the poor for all 365 days in a year, unlike the present form."
At present, MNREGS takes care of minimum wage employment to the rural poor for 100 days in a year.
Taking the Congress by its horns, she chose to blame the party for everything under the sun -- be it the poor roads, inadequate infrastructure or scanty development.
"The Centre does not give UP its due share for development, with the result that you cannot build proper roads or develop the backward areas," Mayawati pointed out, while echoing how the UPA government had not cared to pay any heed to her repeated demand for Rs 80,000 crores for overall development of the backward Purvanchal and Bundelkhand areas.
As if to prevent any dent in her dalit stronghold on account of the intense Congress campaign, she sought to add, "Don't forget that if the Congress comes to power, UP would become the no 1 bankrupt state in the country."
She also justified her decision to divide the state into four smaller states as a direct consequence of the Centre's "indifference to the repeated demand for a special economic package for these backward areas."
Interestingly, even as the rally was meant to be addressing the problems and plight of dalits and backward communities, she devoted barely three minutes to the issue.
And there too she tried to get away with it by one sweeping remark, "Let me tell you that it will take another 15-20 years to overcome the problem of dalits and backward classes, for which BSP alone is truly committed and therefore needed to remain in power."