Is Maya's love for statues a necessity?

UP Politics

In fact visiting the memorials remain on top their programmes and the joy and pleasure is very much visible in their eyes after having a glimpse of their icons. Therein lies Mayawati’s compulsion, a political compulsion on which she could only ill afford to make any compromise. “What else if not political... it is all politically motivated,” says political scientist A K Verma, Christ Church College, Kanpur.

“It is only to satisfy the consciousness of the dalits,” says Verma, who had presented a paper on Mayawati’s much talked about ‘social engineering’ at Harvard University.
Director of G B Pant Institute for Rural Development, Lucknow, S P Pandey also ehoes similar views. “Mayawati wants to be remembered by dalits like the people remember the nawabs of Avadh. She wants to project herself as someone, who withstood all difficulties and weathered all storms but did not stop building the memorials,” he said.

“Mayawati can also claim that she tried her best to preserve the dalit pride,” he said. Indeed Mayawati has already made it a ‘prestige issue’ and vowed to continue to fight for the dalit pride.

No looking back
A senior upper caste UP minister feels that Mayawati has no option but to continue the construction of the parks, statues and memorials. “If the work is stopped midway, it will send a negative message to the dalits,” he said.

Even if the Supreme Court’s tough stand on the construction of statues, parks and memorials forces her to stop construction works, she may still approach her dalit vote bank with ‘her head held high.’

According to political analysts, Mayawati also wants to ‘expose’ the Congress on this issue. “Mayawati wants to tell the dalits that while there were many statues, memorials and parks after Congress leaders, the party is objecting to the memorials for dalit icons,”a BSP minister said. The BSP can counter the Congress’ attempt to win back the dalits in UP with this strategy, he felt.

Verma however feels that Mayawati’s strategy of appeasing the dalits by constructing memorials would not prove successful in the long run. “Dalits will still want her to deliver on other fronts — poverty, education, health, etc,” he said.

With the Supreme Court keeping a strict eye on the memorials and the Congress’ attempt to project Mayawati as a leader, who had betrayed the dalits, the BSP supremo’s political survival would hinge to a large extent on her ability to project herself as the sole legitimate representative of the dalits’ cause.

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