In a clear departure from the past, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati has decided to do away with the practice of monetary donations on her birthday, which falls on January 15.
To compensate for the shortfall, the membership fee has been raised to Rs.40 and the target (of the money accruing through members’ fees) will be completed through a special drive from January 1 to March 31. The new system will become operational from 2010.
The decision was taken at the BSP’s national convention here on Thursday, when Ms. Mayawati was unanimously re-elected party president for the third consecutive term.
Sources in the party said the decision to end the practice of donating money on Ms. Mayawati’s birthday was attributed to the controversy that followed the killing of PWD engineer Manoj Gupta in Auraiya in December 2008, allegedly by henchmen of BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari.
The Chief Minister was accused by the Opposition parties of encouraging the culture of extortion by BSP leaders on her birthday.
Dharna over price rise
Ms. Mayawati’s unanimous election was endorsed by all-India delegates at the convention. The party decided to hold a dharna and demonstrations against the Congress-led UPA government for the spiralling prices and to expose the Congress’ links with industrialists. The agitation would be held in all the States.
Ms. Mayawati assured the delegates that the BSP movement would be taken to its logical goal.
“Policy a success”
She said the policy of “Sarvjan hitaya sarvjan sukhaya” was a success in U.P., and it was time to extend it to the rest of the country.
Ms. Mayawati declared that she would endeavour to fulfil the aspirations of personalities such as Jyotiba Phule, Shahuji Maharaj, Narayana Guru, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, and Kanshi Ram, who strived for a society based on equality.
Referring to the coming Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, she said there was a great opportunity for the BSP to strive for success.
She also touched upon the party’s performance in the recent Assembly by-polls in U.P.