| Mayavati at the news conference. Picture by Jagdish Yadav
New Delhi, May 3: Mayavati, who completed one year in office today, said she has now learned how to use the levers of power “like the manuwadis”.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister appeared unruffled by reports that the BJP is wooing arch-rival Kalyan Singh or by the campaign unleashed against her by Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh.
Mayavati, who flew down to Delhi this afternoon to market her “achievements” before the national media in a five-star hotel, hedged questions on her ties with the BJP.
The Bahujan Samaj Party chief, who had booked Raja Bhaiyya under the anti-terror law, said her biggest achievements were reduction in crime, elimination of communal violence and boosting economic development.
Asked if she was suggesting that senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh’s record was poor, Mayavati said her record was far better than the previous chief minister. “Statistics say it all...,” she said with a smile.
Mayavati said her administration had outperformed previous governments, including those of the BJP, on law and order as well as on the economic front.
The chief minister was evasive when asked if she would team up with the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha elections, saying she would think about it after the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh.
But she added that the BSP would not have an alliance with other parties for October’s local elections.
The news conference was divided into manuwadi-bashing and highlighting the Mayavati-government’s achievements. The chief minister said manuwadis could not stomach that she was a Dalit ki beti and was wielding political power as they used to.
“There was a perception that Dalits cannot take on the upper castes. I have disproved that, not once, but three times. In my two earlier stints as chief minister, I proved that a Dalit can run a better government than the upper castes,” she said.
She would not be drawn into whether the BJP was a manuwadi party, saying it had undergone many changes since it allied with the BSP.
Mayavati said her government had already banned cow slaughter and would support the Centre if it wanted to do so at a national level. She said she was against forcible conversion but would not object if anybody converted of his own accord. “Even the Constitution allows this,” she added.
Mayavati, who heads a jumbo Cabinet, said a clause should be inserted in the proposed Bill limiting the size of ministries to ensure there are a certain number of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes legislators in a Cabinet, based on their population. She said the BSP would support the proposed legislation
Asked about BSP supremo Kanshi Ram’s statement that the Congress was enemy number one and BJP number two, Mayavati said he had said this in a different context and that “circumstances keep on changing”.
She added: “Our fight is not against any particular religion or caste but is directed against manuwadi samaj and changing the system.”
Asked to comment on BJP emissaries meeting former chief minister Kalyan Singh, she snapped: “Ask Kalyan Singh or the BJP. It has nothing to do with our party.”
Mayavati said she was in agreement with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who expressed unhappiness at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s trishul campaign. She said she would not take any preventive action as she did not want to make heroes out of VHP leaders, but warned the Samajwadi Party that brandishing swords would not be allowed. The reference was to Amar Singh's kshatriya rally in Delhi last month where swords were distributed.“If the Samajwadi Party distributes talwar openly, my government will take strong action,” the chief minister said.
Asked if she would take action if the VHP distributed trishuls in the state, Mayavati said: “Trishuls are much smaller. I don’t see any harm if some trishuls are distributed.”