‘Elephant’ giving nightmares to Rahul Gandhi: Mayawati

LUCKNOW - Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s forays into Uttar Pradesh appear to be high on the mind of Chief Minister Mayawati, who repeatedly referred to his recent campaign in the state during her speech at a meeting here on Sunday.


Published: Tue 29 Nov 2011, 12:12 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:27 AM

What apparently seemed to be her biggest worry was Gandhi’s five-day tour of eastern parts of the state that concluded on Saturday even as she said that his visits showed that his party was scared of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mayawati’s obsession with Gandhi and the Congress remained glaringly visible in her address at the ‘Dalit-Backward Bhaichara Sammellan’ (Scheduled Castes-backward classes unity meet) held at the sprawling Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan. She devoted almost 60-minutes, out of her 75-minute address, to him and his style of campaigning for next year’s assembly poll, replying to Gandhi’s attacks on her over the past five days.

While accusing the Congress leader of being obsessed with the ruling BSP’s election symbol elephant, she said: “It appears that our elephant keeps giving nightmares to the yuvraj (prince) in his dreams, otherwise why should he be making all kinds of remarks against the elephant.”

She was reacting to Gandhi’s sarcastic remark about Mayawati’s corrupt governance at a rally in Padrauna on Friday. Everyone knew that elephant fed on grass and plants, but Mayawati’s elephant fed on notes, he had said.

Recalling her party’s slogan, she said: “Chalega haathi, uregi dhool; na rahega panja na rahega phool (when the elephant moves, it would kick up dust; and that will wipe out not only the hand — Congress symbol - but also the flower — Bharatiya Janata Party’s symbol.

On Gandhi’s charge about alleged pilferage of rural job scheme funds released by the central government, Mayawati said: “Let me tell you that the funds that flow for MNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) 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.”

“Once the BSP forms its government at the centre, we will ensure that unlike its present form the scheme provides employment to the poor for all 365 days in a year,” she said.

At present, MNREGS gives minimum wage employment to the rural poor for 100 days in a year.

She slammed the Congress for all the ills including poor roads, inadequate infrastructure and development.

“The centre does not give Uttar Pradesh its due share for development, with the result that you cannot build proper roads or develop the backward areas,” Mayawati said.

The chief minister said that the United Progressive Alliance government had not paid heed to her repeated demand for Rs800 billion for development of the backward Purvanchal and Bundelkhand areas.

“Don’t forget that if the Congress were to come to power, Uttar Pradesh would become the number one bankrupt state in the country,” the chief minister said.

Justifying her decision to divide the state into four smaller states, she said it was a direct consequence of the central government’s “indifference to the repeated demand for a special economic package for these backward areas”.

The rally here was meant to address the problems and plight of Dalits and backward communities but she devoted barely three minutes to the issue in her speech.

“Let me tell you that it will take another 15-20 years to overcome the problem of Dalits and backward classes, for which the BSP alone was truly committed and therefore needed to remain in power,” she said.

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