Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on January 15 appealed to workers of her party and the Samajwadi Party to forget their past differences to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. On Saturday, the BSP and the SP announced an alliance in Uttar Pradesh to unitedly fight the BJP.
"Forget past differences and ensure the victory of all joint candidates of the SP and the BSP. This will be my ideal birthday gift," Mayawati said at a press conference here on the occasion of her 63rd birthday.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav later visited the BSP chief and presented her with a bouquet and a shawl on her birthday.
Mayawati said Uttar Pradesh, which is India's largest state, will decide who will be the next prime minister.
"UP decides who will come to power at the Centre and who will be the prime minister. The BSP and the SP must fight together, setting aside their differences and ensure the victory of all 'gathbandhan' (alliance) candidates," she said, apparently hinting at her prime ministerial ambitions.
The BSP president, who had spelt out the reasons of keeping the Congress out of the alliance on Saturday, did not spare it, asking the party to understand that "popular declarations will not help them anymore".
"Fingers have already been raised at the Congress government over the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and people are asking as to why the cut off dates for it has been fixed for March 31 when it should have been December 17, 2018, when the new government took over," she said.
"Also, these governments are only waiving loans up to Rs 2 lakh and this will not help farmers in any manner," Mayawati said.
She called for a one-time waiver of the entire loan which would check farmers' suicides as well as resolve all their problems.
Asking the state and central governments to prepare a long-term plan for resolving the problems of farmers, she said the farmers believe that implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations will help overcome their plight. Favouring 10 per cent reservation for the poor among the upper castes, Mayawati said Muslims and other religious minorities will not have much benefit till the narrow-minded thinking continues.
She said at the time of Independence, the representation of Muslims in government jobs was about 33 per cent, which she claimed has now come down to two to three per cent. The BSP supremo said her party has been demanding 10 per cent for Muslims.
Mayawati said the BJP government's alleged failure to fulfill poll promises has become the real election issue which is working against it.
Referring to the demonetisation, she alleged that this aggravated the problems of the common people and had adverse impact on the economy. Mayawati also spoke about the problems arising over defence deals such as Bofors and Rafale.
She called for a proper mechanism in consultation with the opposition parties for all defence purchases to avoid fiascos which have not only harmed the image of the country but has also been dragged in the courts. Mayawati termed as unfortunate the controversy over the caste of Lord Hanuman.
"The BJP and the RSS people are not only indulging in politics over religion but are also encouraging those who are using gods to serve their political interests as a result of which the BJP people are in a race to assign caste to the gods. This is unfortunate," she said.
The BSP supremo alleged that the BJP is misusing the CBI and other investigating agencies for its political interests and the latest example of this is SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who may face a CBI probe in a case of illegal mining.
The SP and the BSP had formed an alliance in 1993 to stop the BJP's winning spree after the Ram temple movement. But the alliance ended in 1995 after the infamous Meera Bai Marg guest house incident wherein SP workers misbehaved with Mayawati.
An unruly mob of SP workers had stormed into the Meerabai Guest House here where Mayawati was huddled in a meeting with her MLAs.