UP Will Decide Next PM: Mayawati on Annual B’day Press Conference
Addressing a crowd at her annual birthday press conference, BSP supremo and former UP chief minister Mayawati on Tuesday, 15 December, said that as the largest state, Uttar Pradesh has the power to decide who will become India’s next prime minister.
She also said that the greatest gift she could ask for is that the workers of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) to let go of their past bitterness and work together to ensure that the new ‘gathbandhan’ (alliance) between the two parties emerges victorious in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming general elections.
Mayawati’s comments come a few days after she and SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav announced the new BSP-SP alliance on 12 January, after the two leaders decided to bury their differences and decades-old rivalry.
Through the course of her speech, the BSP Supremo focused on three main highly debated topics, which are surely to affect the run-up to the general elections.
Taking the opportunity of the press conference she holds on her birthday every year to state the importance of the new BSP-SP alliance.
The two parties had faced a major split back in 1995, with the SP then under the leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“My birthday is being celebrated at a time when the country is getting ready for elections,” she said. To this end, she also requested the smaller parties and people, affiliated with this new BSP-SP “gathbandhan” to support it, and help it win in the state.
On Farm Loan Waivers
Addressing the controversial subject of loan waiver – with Congress President Rahul Gandhi promising major relief for farmers especially in the three states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in which it formed new governments – Mayawati criticised the party, and also the ruling BJP at the centre on this subject.
“The current promises made regarding the loan waiver will not help the struggling and hard-working farmers,” she said. “Just waiving a small percentage of their loans will not change anything. If any government or party wished to really help them, then they would waive the whole amount.”
Claiming that farmers have lost faith in the BJP and Congress, Mayawati claimed that instead of taking loans from government banks, these farmers go back to the original practice of taking loans from the land owners or “sethis”, who then work on exploiting them.
“It is a vicious circle which leads more and more farmers to commit suicide,” she said.
Protection of Minorities
Mayawati also spoke about how since the Congress assumed power after the Partition of India in 1947, they have done nothing to elevate the position of the minority communities in the country – be it Dalits, Adivasis or Muslims.
She claimed that the BSP had been formed as a result of this, to provide protection to these minority communities, but that due to their lack of faith in political parties by then, the communities began to look at the BSP as one making false promises also.
She also claimed that this lack of interest in the well-being of the minority communities in the states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh that the Congress recently bagged is the reason why criticism against the party had already begun to develop in these states.