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Mayawati denies denouncing Hindu religion
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
April 09, 2003 00:24 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has denied the charges levelled by the Samajwadi Party through the release of a compact disc containing video of her demanding bribes and making derogatory remarks against Hindu religion and rituals.
In an officially released statement, Mayawati sought to clarify, "I have not criticised the Hindu religion, but some of its ills perpetuated by a section of the priest class who tend to abuse religion for their personal gains."
Terming the Samajawadi Party's CD release as a deliberate design to defame her she said, "All this was being done only as a preemptive move before the Maha Pardafash Rally we are organising on Dr Ambedkar's birth anniversary on April 14. We propose to expose the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's misdeeds."
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party leader and leader of the opposition in the Uttar Pradesh assembly Azam Khan, handed over a copy of the recording to Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri.
He demanded the immediate removal of the chief minister and in addition also wanted her arrest under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act.
The recording appears to be a remaining part of the same sensational videotape that was made public more than a month back to expose Mayawati's 'corrupt practices'.
"Mayawati's reference to the Hindu gods and godesses as dogs could incite a civil war in the country," Khan said during a press conference, shortly after calling on the governor. "Her act was grosly anti-national and therefore merits immediate arrest under POTA."
"Mayawati should have been removed last month itself when we submitted to the governor the first piece of the recording showing how she was blatantly asking for cuts out of constituency development fund assigned to MLAs and MPs in her party," he said.
"While expressing his limitations, the governor did assure us that he had seen the last recording and made his own recommendations to the government," Khan said.
While exhibiting the video in his office before reporters, Khan said, "You can see for yourself how this chief minister was openly demanding bribes in the form of birthday gifts for herself."
In the video, Mayawati is seen brazenly chastising her party legislators. "You people go about spending tons of money on religious rituals that are prescribed by upper caste Hindus only to exploit you. The rich 'prasad' offered by you before stone idols is gobbled up by dogs; so when this so-called God cannot protect its own 'prasad', what harm can that God cause to you; so why should you be sacred of him", Mayawati asks.
In the same breadth she continues to tell them how important it is for them to contribute lavishly towards the Bahujan Samaj Party. "I would like to advise you to gift me cash instead of silver, gold or diamond jewellery that you people have been giving me on January 15, my birthday," Mayawati adds.
Trying to justify her demands, she said, "Remember, when you give me gold or diamond ornaments for my birthday gift, it is not me or the party. It is ultimately the jeweler who gains since any jewellery purchased by you for Rs 100,000 would not fetch me the same money when I would go to convert it into cash."
Referring to her birthday, she adds, "This time I have fixed a birthday gift target of Rs 100,000 for MLAs and Rs 200,000 for every MP; besides I have fixed a quota of Rs 200,000 to be connected from each assembly constituency towards my gift for January 15."
She continues, "I will not spare anyone who fails to fulfill the earmarked quota; you cannot imagine how much money is required every year to run the party."