December 18, 2011

Pretty, graceful, lovely Mayawati wants poll victory as birthday gift from Muslims

Lucknow: Contrary to expectations of important poll announcements, particularly sops for Muslims, UP chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati on Sunday, while reiterating her demand for a separate Muslim quota at the mammoth party convention for Muslim, Kshatriya and Vaishya communities, chose to thank her supporters in advance for birthday falling next month and said that the best gift for her would victory in upcoming state assembly elections.

It was Mayawati who set the ball rolling on the issue of Muslim quota in July this year by writing to prime minister. In response, the Congress led UPA government promised to bring fixed quota for Muslims within quota for other backward classes (OBCs). As a result, Maya was under pressure to make announcements to counter Congress's move to keep intact her Muslim vote bank which played a crucial role in bringing her to power in 2007 assembly elections.

However, Mayawati reiterated her demand for a separate quota for Muslims as recommended by Sachar and Rangnath Mishra committees. "Muslims must be given quota on the basis of their population, for which the proportion of OBC reservation should be increased and a national policy should be formed to ensure that the benefits of quota reach Muslims across the country. BSP will support constitutional amendment required in this regard," she said.

Muslims constitute 18% of the UP population and can affect elections in over 150 constituencies. In 2007 assembly polls, Mayawati fielded 59 muslim candidates, of which 29 won. The Muslim votes also gave her edge in other seats. However, in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, of 20 Muslim candidates, only four won and the community preferred Congress and SP over BSP. As a result, the BSP, which was expecting to bag 45 seats, could win only 20 in the state.

Since Muslims tactically vote for the party which can defeat BJP, Mayawati reminded Muslims that it was Congress government at the Centre when the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992. She also said that during Ram Temple movement in 1989, SP chief and the then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's provocative speech on foolproof security of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya (parinda bhi par nahi mar sakta) and led to riots in all over the state and country.

In comparison, Maya said "In my rule there were no riots. There was peace even after 2010 Ayodhya verdict". Hinting towards shilanyas in Ayodhya during Rajiv Gandhi's prime ministership, she said that the Congress is responsible not only for many riots in the country after independence but has also promoted activities of VHP, RSS and Bajrang dal leading to demolishing of Babri mosque but she did not allow Mathura and Varanasi to become another Ayodhya.

Maya also touched the raw nerve of the Muslims by saying that during her regime, no one was harassed on ground of suspicion of involvement in terror acts but at the same time she kept away from the saffron terror controversy by adding that she believes that terror has no religion. Citing anti-sikh riots of 1984 after assassination of Indira Gandhi, she said that under Congress rule, entire Sikh community had to suffer for wrongdoing of a few from the community.

Emboldened by presence of huge Muslim gathering conspicuous by presence of skull caps and burqas, Mayawati promised to give proper representation to Muslims in ticket distribution for assembly polls and in the government, if voted back to power. Pointing towards her right hand man and party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui who has over 12 departments under him as minister, she said that Opposition parties have not given any Muslim leader such importance.

Counting steps taken by her for development of Muslims, she said that she has delivered and not appeased Muslims like Congress. She claimed that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 1015.70 crore for UP under multi-sectoral development plan but so far only Rs 634.08 crore has been released. She also claimed that the law enacted by her government to grant special status to Muslim educational institutions is pending with the Central government for approval.