Sunday, January 20, 2008

Maya juggernaut rolls into Orissa
Subhashish Mohanty
Monday, January 21, 2008 02:16 IST

With eye on polls, Uttar Pradesh chief minister promises three acres to each farmer

BHUBANESHWAR: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo, whose search for new political pastures outside her home of Uttar Pradesh took her to Himachal Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh in the south in the recent past, finally landed in Orissa on Sunday.

If anyone had doubts about her agenda at her latest port of call, the UP chief minister set at rest all possible speculation when she declared, while addressing a mammoth public meeting: “I am launching the campaign (for the next Lok Sabha elections) from here today.”

“Only a few months are left for the elections and so move in that direction and work for the next polls from today,” she told her party workers. She said she expected elections to be held to the Orissa assembly (an year ahead of schedule) along with the Lok Sabha polls. The reasons for her choice of Orissa as the latest destination are not hard to guess.

Less than a month ago, her bitter foe and Samajwadi party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav addressed a huge public meeting at Puri.

“Go to the villages,” Mayawati urged her supporters, explaining that there was no way BSP could gain power at the Centre unless it accorded “equal importance” to all sections of the society.

She took some time off from her mandatory hard-sell of herself as an icon and protector of Dalits. “The party is never against the upper class people. It wants reservations for the poor people among the upper castes too.”

She cited the instance of Satish Chandra Mishra, an upper caste man, whom she had “promoted.”

“If the party comes to power both at the Centre as well as in Orissa, it would make provision for reservations for the upper caste poor,” she promised, adding that something needed to be urgently done to introduce reservations even in the private sector.

She said she had “never” broken a promise that she had made to people.

The crowd cheered her when she blamed the governments at the centre and the state for growing naxalite influence. “People looked to naxalites only because they had not been given land. If my party comes to power in Orissa, three acres of land will be given to farmers for farming,” she announced.

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