A jittery Mayawati dumps 'sarva samaj'

A jittery Mayawati dumps 'sarva samaj'

The fight is likely to get more intense in the next few months as both the Congress and the BSP have started preparations for the next Assembly polls due in 2012. The state Congress leaders, who are apparently buoyed by the impressive showing of the party in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, have been asked to focus on the dalits.

Taking the cue, the Congress leaders visited dalit hamlets and organised special feasts on  party general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi’s birthday on June 19. Not only were feasts organised across the state, but upper caste Congress leaders were seen having food with the dalits!

Rahul Gandhi himself had visited the dalit houses in several parts of the state in the run up to the parliament polls sending shock waves in the BSP, which termed Rahul’s visits as ‘nautanki’ (drama) aimed at luring the dalits. However the results of the polls have shown that a section of the dalits – for the first time in 20 years – had voted for the Congress. “A sizeable number of dalits deserted BSP and voted for the Congress,” opined noted political analyst A K Verma.

The shift of dalits votes has made Mayawati jittery and now she has been focussing mainly on her party’s core vote bank virtually abandoning her much hyped social engineering. That perhaps is the reason why she has been targeting the Congress. “Mayawati’s main rival is the Congress and not the Samajwadi Party,”, says S P Pandey, Director of G B Pant Institute of Social and Rural Studies.

Realising the danger ahead, Mayawati has been working overtime to ensure that the dalits do not ditch the BSP. “Mayawati has realised that if she woos the upper castes, the dalits will desert her,” quipped a senior BSP leader.

At a recent party meeting Mayawati made it clear that the dalits would be her focus. “People had started taking the BSP as the party of brahmins...it is not so...dalits are our core supporters,” she declared.

Dumping of one of her close confidantes S C Mishra and restricting his role to legal matters only should be seen in this context. “Mishra was the most prominent brahmin face of BSP and by sidelining him, Mayawati has sent a clear message to the dalits that they are her priority,” a BSP leader said. Mayawati has also recently clipped the wings of some senior brahmin ministers of her cabinet.

The BSP supremo has also directed the officials to accord top priority to the welfare of dalits and has vowed to personally monitor the schemes launched for their welfare in the state.

The state police chief has been rushing to all places from where reports of crimes against dalits are being reported. He has been dishing out relief cheques on the spot, besides ensuring speedy investigation.

On the political front, Mayawati has made it clear that only a member of the ‘chamar’ community (a caste to which Mayawati herself belongs) will be her heir in case ‘anything happens’ to her.

By doing so the BSP supremo has set at rest all speculations that her close aides like Mishra, Cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddique or former state BSP president Swami Prasad Maurya could succeed her.

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