Mayawati keeps UPA guessing

BSP support to ruling alliance to be decided today; Mamata firm on opposing FDI

Mayawati keeps UPA guessing

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati kept the suspense on continuing her support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, though she seemed to “soften” her stand on FDI in multi-brand retail.

The much-awaited decision of Mayawati continuing support to the UPA will now be announced after a meeting of the BSP national executive here on Wednesday.

However, she hinted at softening of her party’s stand on FDI in multi-brand retail. Addressing a large gathering of party supporters here from across the country on the occasion of the sixth death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram, the BSP chief said, “We will not support FDI in retail trade in the current situation, we will monitor it closely, if it benefits the farmers then we will review our decision.”

Launching a scathing attack on the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) for their “anti-dalit” mindset, Mayawati dubbed UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav “ghoshna mukhya mantri” (a CM who only makes announcements and does nothing). She said UP had turned into a “crime state.”

“Ghoshna karne mein to ye apane baap se bhi agey nikal gaya hai (Akhilesh has surpassed his father in making announcements),” Mayawati said. Mayawati accused the SP government of showing disrespect to dalit icons. “The SP government scrapped welfare schemes named after dalit icons, renamed many districts.

It also damaged the statues of myself and other dalit icons at many places,” she said.

Attacking the UPA, the BSP chief referred to 2G, Commonwealth and Coalgate scams and decried the hike in price of diesel and quota on subsidized LPG cylinders.

She claimed that the Congress, the BJP and the SP had a tacit understanding in the recent Assembly polls in the state. “The Congress and BJP transferred their vote base to SP candidates in constituencies where they were weak, thus ensuring victory for them,” she said.

She also targeted the Congress government in Haryana for failing to protect dalits and cited instances of rape in the state. “It has turned into a mahila utpidan pradesh (a state where women are being persecuted),” she said.

Mayawati told her party workers to be ready for early Lok Sabha elections besides announcing the launch of her party’s campaigning for the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Mamata defiant

Reiterating her stand against the UPA government’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, pension and hike in the limit in insurance, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was not in favour of inviting industries at the cost of “selling the country,.”

Speaking at a programme in East Midnapore district, Banerjee said: “I welcome industry in India as well as in West Bengal. I also like to welcome industrialists from all over the country to come here. But I certainly disapprove industrialisation by selling the country”.

“The sanctity of the motherland has to be preserved while industries go forward. Ideally, agriculture and industry should co-exist,” she said.

‘Better price for producers’

The government on Tuesday said that inflow of overseas capital would help growers get better prices for their produces and cut down losses, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Underlining the need to boost investment in the farm sector, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that the Government would welcome FDI in development of seed and post-harvest infrastructure as well as in multi-brand retail trading, subject to setting up the back-end infrastructure.

“This should benefit all stakeholders across the entire value and supply chain. Farmers will gain on at least two counts: significant reduction in post-harvest losses and better prices,” he said at the Economic Editors’ Conference here.

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