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Maya slams UPA for 'ignoring the downtrodden'

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
June 05, 2009 19:35 IST
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Training her guns on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati was extremely critical of President Pratibha Patil's address to the joint sitting of parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.

In a statement read out on her behalf by cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh in Lucknow on Friday evening, Mayawati sought to ask, "Why the UPA government had not cared to pay any heed to the much needed job quota for dalits in the private sector."

She said, "Through a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh, I had raised the demand for reservations, not only in the private sector but also in judiciary," while adding, "I would like to once again reiterate my demand and urge the Central government not to ignore the issue any more."

Terming the UPA government's approach towards dalits and other downtrodden members of the society as "wishy –washy," she called upon the new regime "to do something concrete for the well being of dalits, socially backwards and Muslim minorities."

The Central government's loan waiver might have come as a boon for the Congress, yet it does not appear to have impressed Mayawati at all.

"Only big farmers have been benefited by the loan waiver", she alleged. "Since the waiver was applicable only to banks, it was natural that the benefit would accrue only to those who had taken loans from the banks; what seems to have been ignored that the immediate financial needs of small farmers are usually met by local village level money-lenders who continue to exploit them."

She said, "It was high-time the government initiated steps to bring an end to the exploitation of these small farmers at the hands of these money-lenders."

Embarking on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the UP CM felt, "The exercise was just another gimmick and if the UPA government was truly bothered about ensuring employment for the poor and the needy, it should have worked out some scheme to insure employment for all 365 days in a year."

Interestingly, Mayawati went on to dub even Indira Gandhi's "Garibi hatao" programme of the early seventies as a "failure." What she apparently failed to realise was that it was that slogan of 'garibi hatao' that propelled Indira Gandhi to a formidable position.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow