The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati show ends in crush deaths

Lucknow, Sept. 28: At least 12 people died on their way back from Mayavati’s mega rally, at which deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani shared the dais with the BSP Big Two.

DIG Arun Kumar said three persons were electrocuted while sitting atop a train, while others died in the ensuing stampede at the railway station. “The toll may rise as we clear the mess,” Kumar said.

The police were diverting all traffic to ease the pressure on the railway station, where two lakh BSP workers were waiting for trains to take them home.

At the rally, which had been widely publicised, Advani praised Mayavati for her competent leadership of the coalition government in the state. Advani was one of the BJP leaders let off the hook when Mayavati decided not to issue a fresh notification in the Ayodhya demolition case, in which he was facing criminal charges.

Describing as “perverted” those who had criticised Mayavati for inviting an Ayodhya accused to her rally, Advani said the BJP would not ditch the coalition “even if our party acquires absolute majority in the next Lok Sabha elections”.

Barring this brief reference, neither Advani nor BSP leaders Kanshi Ram and Mayavati referred to the Ayodhya dispute.

The Samajwadi Party had slammed Mayavati for bailing out Advani and then inviting him to the rally. The party held counter rallies in Lucknow and other parts of the state.

The sprawling Ambedkar maidan, where Mayavati’s rally was held, was drenched in blue, the colour of the BSP flag. The slogan that filled the air was: “Bachcha bachcha Bheem ka, BSP ki team ka” (Everyone is committed to the cause of Bheem Rao Ambedkar.) Members of the minority community, however, stayed away.

Advani criticised Mulayam for describing Mayavati’s Ambedkar Udyan project as “a den of vice” and was happy that by turning out in such large numbers, the BSP workers had given him a fitting reply.


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