Noida, Oct 14 Accusing the Congress of playing "gimmicks" to woo Dalits, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Friday claimed the Congress party could instal a Dalit as the country's prime minister "solely to impress" the community.
"Don't be surprised if the Congress now instals either former Maharastra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde or Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as prime minister for a brief period - solely to impress the Dalit community," Mayawati told a massive gathering during the inauguration of her multi-billion dream project - Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden at Noida Friday evening.
With obvious eye on next year's assembly poll, she said: "I challenge the Congress party to try that out because I am confident that the Dalits can see through the Congress party's repeated games that it had played over the years to woo them; let me tell you that no matter what it does, the Congress party won't be able to serve its objective of denting the my Dalit following, which will remain unaffected by all such gimmicks."
Terming the gigantic 82-acre memorial-cum-park as the first of its kind in the country, the chief minister said, "I had to undertake this project because successive governments of different political parties never cared to give recognition to the rich contribution of these social reformers, simply because they were drawn from the most downtrodden strata of society."
Taking on the entire opposition that has been highly critical of her government's extravagance on projects like this one, Mayawati said, "First of all I would like to point out that the total expenditure on all the monuments that I have built during my tenure in honour of various Dalit icons did not work out to more than one percent of my government's each year's budget."
She went on to further clarify, "And let me add that if successive governments including the Congress party which headed most regimes, had shown some consideration and given the Dalit heroes their due, I would not have had to take up the task."
Mayawati accused successive Congress governments of "building monuments after monuments for various members of the Gandhi-Nehru family".
She said, "if the Congress party has occupied all along along the west bank of the Yamuna river in Delhi for building memorials of various Gandhis-Nehrus, I have raised this one memorial on the east bank of the Yamuna to honour the so-far neglected Dalit icons like Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedlkar, Jyotiba Phule, Narayan Guru, Chattrapati Shauji Maharaj, Kanshi Ram and others."
She blamed the Congress-led UPA government for "creating unnecessary hurdles in the completion of the project". "The Congress-led UPA regime left no stone unturned to stall my project, but I am grateful to the country's apex court for clearing these and eventually allowing us to go ahead with it; however it did get delayed by almost a year."
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister made it a point to repeatedly train her guns on the Congress, whose all powerful general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been trying hard to make inroads into Mayawati's Dalit forte by spending a night in a Dalit's hut or sharing a meal with a Dalit family.
She also did not spare the BJP for initiating the disproportionate assets case against her.
In an obvious bid to arouse sympathy of her Dalit supporters, who converged at the new memorial cum park in tumultuous numbers, Mayawati highlighted how she was "hounded" by the CBI in the Taj Corridor Case. "I was falsely implicated in a disproportionate assets case by the BJP-led NDA government and even though Congress president Sonia Gandhi then promised to help me out after her party returned to power, she too conveniently forgot her promise and I am still fighting to get justice," she told the audience amidst cheers.
Laying a lot of stress on her pro-Dalit assertions, Mayawati reiterated how she had been shooting off letters to the prime ministers to introduce reservations in the judiciary as well as the private sector. "It was a pity that the country's prime minister had not cared to respond to any of my letters in this regard," she pointed out.