Tehelka : Mayawati deplores singling out Bangaru Laxman

(Special Story)
(Mukundan C. Menon)

Thiruvananthapuram, March 27 : BSP leader Ms. Mayawati took strong exceptions against BJP-led NDA for singling out Bangaru Laxman for attack and ridicule on the Tehelka exposures. "I am not telling that Bangaru should be spared from action only because he is a Dalit. However, steps should be equally initiated against all those who figured in the scandal. But the ruling party leaders single out only Bangaru Laxman for condemnation, and spare all others."

Participating in the "Star News" programme "Sawal Apke" today evening, the BSP leader questioned why George Fernandez, who though resigned from Government following Tehelka exposure, still remains as NDA Convenor while Bangaru was forced to quit BJP Presidentship. She also took exceptions to BJP leaders' public statements that George Fernandez would be reinstated as Defence Minister once the enquiry is over within 4 months. "Why nobody tells that this is also applicable for Bangaru Laxman as well?", she asked.

Answering a question on corruption, Mayawati said that none dared to approach her with money when she was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister twice. "They go only to those who are known to be corrupt", she added. To another question regarding BSP's fund mobilisation, Mayawati said that her party, representing poorer and Dalit sections, entirely depends upon small donations from them. "We do not have capitalists, industrialists and the rich within our ranks to get hefty donations unlike the "Manuwati" parties," she pointed out.

According to Mayawati, individual Dalit leaders like Bangaru Laxman can get positions in "Manuwati" parties but can either have "Swabhiman" for themselves or contribute for the common Dalit cause. When asked whether Bangaru Laxman would be welcomed into BSP to uphold his "Swabhiman", she said that it is upto him to decide whether to remain within BJP any more by tolerating all insults. "If he has prestige, let him quit BJP first","she opined.

Answering another question, she said that Ram Vilas Paswan cannot do anything for Dalits by remaining as a Minister within a Government headed by "Manuwati" party. " Yes, with the same BJP support I became UP Chief Minister only for the welfare of Dalits. Also, our support to BJP was withdrawn the moment we realised that nothing could be done for the Dalits", she recalled. Quoting Dr. Ambedkar repeatedly, she stressed that the lots of Dalits and weaker sections can be improved only if a party of "Bahujans" control the Government.

Mayawati strongly refuted the allegation that she does not allow other Dalit leaders to occupy the stages during BSP rallies. "Recently, on March 15, there was a BSP rally at Ludhiana in Punjab where both myself and Kanshi Ram addressed a massive crowd of around two-and-half lakhs. And, about 50 Dalit leaders shared the platform with us" she said, adding that all such insinuations against BSP are deliberately spread by "Manuwati" parties to discredit them.

It is to be recalled that loud cries for Bangaru Laxman's blood are coming from BJP-RSS camps despite his quitting the party presidentship. Gujarat BJP leaders had demanded Bangaru's resignation from Rajya Sabha, as he was elected from Gujarat. Several other leaders also demanded his expulsion or suspension from the party's primary membership at the BJP national executive meeting held last week at Delhi. Notably, although all former BJP Presidents used to share the stage at the party national executive meetings, Bangaru was reportedly ordered by party bosses to altogether stay away from the meeting.

The Union Consumer Affairs Minister, Shanta Kumar, was reportedly in the fore-front of anti-Bangaru attack at the meeting saying that the BJP could still be a party with a difference only if he was "expelled" from the party. Former Rajasthan Chief Minister, Bairon Singh Shekhawat, said that the "dirt" should be thrown out instead of pushing under the carpet. Film star-turned-MP, Shatrugnan Sinha, said that there was no need to defend a corrupt element and, instead, the party must make him to pay the price.

Compare this with the BJP national executive committee's decision to launch massive rallies throughout India, starting with Delhi's Ram Lila Maidan show day-before, with the participation of all other "Tehelka heroes" like George Fernandez. Notably, while BJP leaders continue to defend Tehelka-tainted Samata Party leaders like Fernandez and Jaya Jaitley, only BSP's Mayawati had protested against singling out Bangaru for attack. It is to be recalled that the BJP leadership opted Bangaru Laxman for party presidentship a few months ago solely to woo Dalit voters from BSP in the crucial U.P. assembly elections due early next year.

Source: in-house
Referred by:Mukundan C. Menon
Published on: March 27, 2001
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