Mayawati hits out at BJP's `dalit agenda'

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE
2nd Sept.20000
Indian Express

NEW DELHI, SEPT 1: Bahujan Samaj Party vice-president Mayawati has ridiculed the BJP's ``dalit agenda'' and quoted Uttar Pradesh Governor Suraj Bhan as saying that the saffron party is ``actually anti-dalit''.

Speaking here today, she said: ``On the one hand, they appoint a dalit as their party president to prove that they are the champions of dalit cause. On the other, the UP Governor, who is a former party MP and a hardcore RSS activist, has gone on record saying that the BJP is anti-dalit.''

``If he has any conscience, Suraj Bhan should resign from both the Governor's post as well as the membership of the BJP and the RSS,'' Mayawati observed, adding, ``Otherwise, it would appear as if his ranting is just an eyewash.''

The BSP leader also criticised the BJP-led Government at the Centre for its decision to re-adjust the number of seats reserved for SCs and STs on the basis of the 1991 census. ``If they really want to prove that they are pro-dalit, they should re-adjust the seats on the basis of the latest figures. The population of SCs/STs has gone up since 1991,'' the BSP leader said.

When she was reminded that it would take another two to three years to complete the 2001 census exercise, Mayawati said: ``In that case, the Government should conduct a special census for these sections.''

The former UP chief minister ridiculed what she called the BJP's new-found love for the minorities in the light of new party chief Bangaru Laxman's gesture to Muslims. ``On the one hand they're holding out the olive branch to Muslims; on the other, Kalraj Mishra, their new UP unit chief, decides to pay obeisance to Ramlala at Ayodhya after taking over his new job. What message is the BJP trying to give ?'' she asked.


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