UP electoral battle
Paswan, Mayawati cross swords over dalit votes
From Subodh Ghildiyal
The Paswan-Mayawati battle for dalit votes is getting shriller. Union communications minister Ram Vilas Paswan and BSP leader Mayawati today crossed swords over claims of being the true representative of dalits. The union minister dubbed her concern over dalit killings as "fake" while the former chief minister of UP termed him as an "NDA agent" funded by BJP to counter the BSP.
Lashing out at Mayawati for her "fake concerns" over dalit carnage, Paswan announced to take out a Rathyatra throughout the state to mobilise the weakers sections in his favour. He said the Lok Janshakti will contest elections in UP and take a final decision on the route and schedule of rathyatra in the meeting of its paliamentary board on July 4. Making the grand announcement, Paswan said: "Neither Mandal nor Kamandal nor dalit will be the issue in elections. Those who work at the grassroots will be voted to power this time around."
He criticised Mayawati for her visit to Aligarh after the killing of five dalits and said that "you cannot just fly to a city and shed fake tears to claim to be working for the poor and dalits. It depends on how you fight for their cause and at what level you carry out your struggle." He said Mayawati was self-proclaimed messiah of dalits and nothing more.
The BSP leader reacted swiftly to the new offensive. She dismissed Paswan as the agent of union government whose rathyatra will be financed by the BJP. According to her, the BJP was using him to counter the BSP. "He is doing the liasioning work for BJP in Uttar Pradesh," she remarked. Further upping the ante against the minister, she said had it not been for the funding, how would a person who had failed to emerge a force in his state think of campaigning and contesting in UP.
A day after Rajnath Singh among senior leaders and workers stayed overnight in a village under the party programme to reach out to rural populace, Mayawati described it as an act in futility. She said the party was sleeping in cities for four years and is now talking in terms of villages and poor.
"Suddenly, the BJP leaders find the dusty villages good for stay, prefer eating with poor," she mocked. The desperate steps by BJP show that elections will be held in October and not March as is being claimed.