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'Sonia will have to abandon Amethi'

By Gargi Parsai

The Bahujan Samaj Party president, Kanshi Ram, with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, at a party rally in New Delhi on Sunday. — Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

NEW DELHI APRIL 6. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, today virtually challenged the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, to win a seat from Uttar Pradesh. "The results of the recent bypolls in U.P. have shown that she will have to abandon Amethi and seek a safe seat from South India in the next general elections," she said.

Addressing a massive rally here today with an eye on the coming elections in four States including Delhi, she directed her ire at the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, but did not spare her coalition partner, the BJP, either. Her alliance with the "Manuvadi" (castist order) BJP and its allies was only issue-based. She would not go along with the saffron agenda of the BJP, she said.

"Law and order and development, with priority to Bahujan samaj, are the only two issues to which we agreed before entering into this coalition in U.P. There has been no coalition of ideology,'' she asserted.

The Chief Minister recalled that it was because of her stand on the Mathura temple-mosque issue in 1995 that the BJP withdrew support to her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). And in 1997 her coalition with the BJP snapped because during the beginning of his six-month tenure, the then BJP CM, Kalyan Singh, started reversing some of the decisions taken by her during the preceding six months when she was the Chief Minister as part of the power-sharing pact. "We have never compromised on our principles to come to power," she claimed.

The BSP leader, who arrived three-and-a-half hours late, accompanied by the party supremo, Kanshi Ram, and spoke for 80 minutes, "warned" the Congress and the SP against making allegations (in a video clip released by the SP) that she had taken money for party fund from the MLA and the MP Local Area development fund.

"If he cannot prove it, he (Mulayam Singh) should publicly apologise for the false propaganda".

Her remarks come in the wake of the threat by the SP to release another tape "to show the real face" of Ms. Mayawati even as she is preparing for a "pardafaash" (expose) rally in Lucknow on April 14.

Referring to the arrest of independent MLA, Raja Bhaiyya and his father, Pratap Singh, under POTA, she said: "I am a strict type of Chief Minister. In my reign IAS and IPS officers have to work honestly or else resign and sit at home.

Likewise I told criminals they've to behave, otherwise they'd be put behind bars. Raja Bhaiyya and his father were hauled up under POTA because of their wrong doing.''

The BSP leader went through the entire script of the release of videotape by the SP on the eve of the no-confidence vote in the U.P. Assembly and the four by-elections in the State, three of which were won by her party. After the by-polls the SP leader had lost his claim of hold over the Muslim population in U.P., and was now trying to rally the Thakurs around Raja Bhaiyya's arrest.

Ms. Mayawati urged the ''Bahujan Samaj'' to claim the "master key to political power" in Delhi in the coming elections by defeating the Congress. Elections in the Capital would be fought "on U.P. pattern''.

She asked the party members to fast on the election day so that they were not tempted by the "Manuvadi parties who would never give them their rightful place in the society".

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