President of the Bahujan Samaj Party and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday accused the election authorities of targeting her because she was a “Dalit woman.”

She charged that the election authorities checked her baggage twice after she landed at the Jewargi helipad.

“Would they (election authorities) do this to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Sushma Swaraj of the BJP” she asked.

Soon after the chopper landed at the helipad on the outskirts of Jewargi town, the election authorities checked the baggage carried by Ms Mayawati and found Rs. 1 lakh.

Ms. Mayawati explained to them that Rs. 50,000 belonged to her and the remaining to Dixit, party general secretary, who accompanied her. Ms. Mayawati said her vehicle was again stopped by election authorities while she was on the way to the venue of a public meeting and the baggage checked again.

“People at the helm of affairs cannot tolerate a Dalit woman rising to this position in public life and travelling in aircraft and helicopters. How many times did these officials check the bags of Ms. Gandhi and Ms. Swaraj. Why are rules and regulations limited only to me?” She said the BSP was formed in 1986 by Kanshi Ram to provide a common platform for the backward classes, Dalits, the economically weaker sections among the upper castes, and the tribals and for protecting their rights. The popularity of the BSP resulted in it getting a mandate in Uttar Pradesh four times, and during its rule the party provided opportunities to all sections, particularly the deprived sections and the voiceless.

Because of our efforts to provide employment opportunities to the Dalits and tribals, naxalism did not grow in Uttar Pradesh, she claimed.

Ms. Mayawati, who flew from New Delhi in a chartered flight to Bidar, later went to Jewargi in a helicopter to address the public meeting.

She then left for Humanabad in Bidar district to address a public meeting in support of BSP candidates.

Sushma welcomes it

Hubli Staff Correspondent reports:Even as Ms. Mayawati fumed at her helicopter and baggage being checked by election officials during her visit to Gulbarga, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj welcomed the Election Commission’s move while her helicopter was being checked at Hubli airport.

The BJP leader, who landed in Hubli on Saturday and proceeded to Dharwad to canvass for party candidates, tweeted after her arrival saying, “Just landed in Hubli. Election Commission officials have checked my helicopter and baggage. I welcome this.”

Her next tweet read: “Commission officials checked my helicopter and baggage during Tamil Nadu and Kerala elections too.”

When contacted, the airport authorities said that in the view of the elections, the authorities have to check baggage and report the same to the district election officer.

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