| Mayavati at the media conference in Bhopal on Wednesday. (PTI)
Bhopal, Nov. 5: Midway through his meeting with about 100-odd candidates at the state Congress headquarters at Roshanpura Chowk, Digvijay Singh shushed them and cocked his ears.
Barely 200 metres away, loudspeakers outside Rabindra Bhavan were blaring Mayavati’s dramatic plea to the 16 per cent Dalit population in the state to ensure defeat of the BJP “at all cost”.
“Vote for anybody who can get the BJP defeated. Do not let them win the semi-final in the five states. If they win the semi-final, they will pose problems for us in the finals (read 2004 general elections),” said Mayavati inside the hall packed with Bahujan Samaj Party candidates, office-bearers and sympathisers this afternoon.
It was music to the ears of Congress leaders, particularly the chief minister, who is leading a grim battle for a third consecutive term. “Who else but we can fulfil behenji’s dream,” piped a Congress worker at the party office.
Mayavati raved that a Union minister of state belonging to the BJP was her “mole” at the Centre, tipping her off about all BJP moves. He had alerted Mayavati about the BJP pulling the rug in Uttar Pradesh and again got back with information about Madhya Pradesh BSP chief Phool Singh Baraiya striking a “clandestine deal” with the BJP. Mayavati would not take names, but kept referring to the person, in a clear attempt to create fissures in the BJP.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister ranted against the BJP, the CBI and the judges, dubbing them as “Manuwadis” determined to “teach a hapless Dalit woman a lesson”. She “promised” to get even with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his family and other BJP bigwigs, saying once voted to power, she would teach them how the “CBI could be truly misused”.
Tracing a calendar, she claimed that it was merely a matter of 10 months before the BJP is pushed out of power.
She broke down while detailing how the BJP virtually played with ailing BSP ideologue Kanshi Ram’s life by trying to engineer her arrest by the CBI. “Had I been arrested, Manyavar (the revered one, i.e. Kanshi Ram) would not have survived,” Mayavati said, tears rolling down her cheeks.
She captivated the audience, and also those outside the hall, narrating a tale of intrigue and sustained conspiracy to weaken the Dalit cause, even during the pre-Independence era. Mayavati spoke about how Babasaheb Ambedkar was marginalised, how the Republican Party of India declined and how in the past one decade, the BSP was sought to be wiped out by engineering frequent splits.
“But today, tell me who remembers the Raj Bahadurs and Dr Masoods who floated the so-called breakaway BSPs'” she asked, reminding her cadre about the “great betrayal” by Phool Singh, now heading the Samata Samaj Party. “He is a bichhoo (scorpion),” Mayavati said, alleging that as the state BSP head, he had siphoned off “crores of rupees” belonging to Dalits.
Barely a month ago, Mayavati had described Phool Singh as “the future chief minister of Madhya Pradesh” before a gathering of about 30,000 mobilised by him. Today, she drove her sword into his heart: “Uske hriday mein kamal ka phool khil gaya hai (The lotus (BJP symbol) has bloomed in his heart).”