Mayawati Starts Target Practice
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister focuses on the next Lok Sabha polls and eyes a pan- India role
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister focuses on the next Lok Sabha polls and eyes a pan- India role.
Four security towers with armed guards, barbed wire and 18- fthigh sandstone walls surround Mayawati’s home at 13 A Mall Avenue in Lucknow. The Akhilesh Yadav government may have taken down the barricades on Mall Avenue that Mayawati had in place when she was chief minister, but she still knows how to keep out the undesirables. The Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP) office across the road seems equally deserted except for a handful of party officials. The only sound is the low hum of a TV whose volume is turned up whenever there is news concerning BSP. This is in sharp contrast to the Samajwadi Party ( SP) office at Vikramaditya Marg which is buzzing with party workers and the media, despite the newly installed security apparatus at the gate.
But inside 13 A Mall Avenue, there is a nuanced lowering of the barriers. Over the last month, the 43 intercoms inside the house have been working overtime as Mayawati has been meeting a spate of visitors. All except three— her younger brother Anand Kumar, his wife Vichitra Lata and their daughter— belong to the BSP cadre.
Those who have met Mayawati say the initial shock of defeat has long worn off. She has a new target in place: Lok Sabha 2014. “Don’t forget that unlike the SP leadership, Mayawati is a national leader,” points out Swami Prasad Maurya, Uttar Pradesh leader of Opposition and BSP state president. This is one reason why she gave up her MLC nomination and has moved to Delhi as a Rajya Sabha member.
When she arrived at the Upper House on April 24, she was escorted by aide Satish Mishra while the rest of her party MPS greeted her with bouquets of roses. A smiling Mayawati, dressed in a cream salwar kameez, wasted little time in Parliament. Once she had taken oath, she stepped out and walked purposefully towards the first car waiting at the gate. The car, belonging to junior foreign minister E. Ahamed, had a red beacon; Mayawati’s Ambassador has none. Realising her mistake, Mayawati sheepishly asked Mishra where her car was and walked towards it.
The BSP chief later told the media that her mission in Parliament would be “sarvajan hitay, sarvajan sukhay ( the gain of all, the welfare of all)”. She was also critical of the Congress move to nominate Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. “I know very well their intentions behind this move,” she said enigmatically. But when it came to actor Rekha, a bete noire of Jaya Bachchan— one of Mayawati’s own detractors, she simply stated, “I don’t watch films. All my time is spent in strengthening my party.”
Clearly this was no defeated leader but a spirited woman already working on her next challenge. With the two national parties in a shambles and the next Lok Sabha likely to be a hung House, Mayawati is ready to step it up.
MAYAWATI’S MAIDEN INTERVENTION IN PARLIAMENTWAS TO DEMAND PROMOTION QUOTA FOR SC/ ST EMPLOYEES IN HER STATE.