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My successor will be a Dalit only: Mayawati

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
July 04, 2009 21:20 IST
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Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday sought to clarify that even though her national general secretary Satish Misra may remain her blue-eyed Brahmin mascot, yet she had no intention of anointing Misra as her successor.

Making this amply clear at a meeting of party legislators, district coordinators , MPs and ministers  -- the fourth one since the last Lok Sabha elections -- at BSP's state headquarters here Saturday, Mayawati was understood to have declared, "my successor will be a Dalit only".

She also sought to draw a parallel between herself and late Indira Gandhi by declaring, "In the event that the Central government succeeds in its conspiracy to send me to jail, I am sure it will prove a boon to me in the same manner as the arrest of Indira Gandhi, who swept back with a thumping majority."

It was a four-and-a-half-hour closed-door marathon session. And the packed house listened to 'Behenji's' monologue that was largely devoted to her echoing hypothesis on becoming the country's prime minister.

"I am aware that everyone was wondering who I would nominate as my successor in the event I rode on to become prime minister. I was also told that the other than Satish Misra, the names of Naseem Siddiqui and Swami Prasad Maurya were doing rounds ; but let me clarify that while I would accommodate these prominent leaders in key positions at the Centre , a committed Dalit alone would be my successor as chief minister here," she told the gathering .

Announcing a new role for Misra, who was so far projected as her architect of the much hypoed "social engineering", Mayawati said, "Henceforth, he will devote his energies to fighting all court battles for me and for our government."

As if the fear of the Congress denting her Dalit vote-bank was continuing to haunt her, Mayawati went about repeatedly alerting her partymen against what she termed "Congress wooing of Dalits.

She warned, "The Congress is continuing to play tricks to mislead and misguide the Dalits, therefore it was of utmost importance for every BSP leader to remain wary of such design."

She said, "Do not get carried away or influenced by the lip service of Congress leaders whose one-point programme was to woo the Dalits through false propaganda and publicity."

She also asked party workers to gear up for the forthcoming bye elections for 13 assembly and one parliamentary constituency in UP. Stressing on "accountability" she said, "responsibility would be fixed for poor performance."

Even though she had said it umpteen times at the three earlier meetings, she had addressed since the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections,the BSP chief made it a point to reiterate how "the entire opposition had ganged up against the BSP".

She said, "The key opposition parties, SP, BJP and Congress had struck an underhand deal to join hands against the BSP and that was the reason why our tally remained below our expectations."

Yet, she sought to clarify, "What we need to remember that even though our numbers did not go up, our vote percentage rose and that is no mean achievement."

Interestingly, Satish Misra was the only other leader whom she extended the opportunity to address the partymen. Misra's 20-minute speech was devoted to clarifications on rumours about his being sidelined.

"I continue to enjoy Behenji's blessings as before and will continue to work like her devoted soldier to further the interests of the party and the government", he said.

Significantly, the BSP chief also expelled a former Rajya Sabha MP Balihari Babu from the party for allegedly indulging in "anti -party activities". She was stated to have told the gathering, "Balihari Babu has been removed as he damaged BSP's prospects in MP, Gujarat and other places, where he was sent to look after the interest of the party", she said , while adding, "I understand that he was playing into the hands of the Congress."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow