Waste of public money: Mayawati; key to a student’s success, says Akhilesh

The free laptop scheme of the Samajwadi Party government spawned a war of words between the Bahujan Samaj Party president, Mayawati, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with the former dismissing the scheme as a “waste of public money.”

Mr. Yadav hit back by stating that the BSP was unnerved by the achievements and performance of the SP government. The Chief Minister described the laptop scheme as a “key to a student’s success.”

The verbal exchange marked by accusations and counter-accusations between the two clearly overshadowed the three functions held in the State capital on Saturday where free laptops were distributed to the students by Mr. Yadav.

The functions were held at Isabella Thoburn (IT) College where 1061 girl students were given laptops, at the Lucknow University where 2590 students were the beneficiaries and at Mumtaz Degree College.

The first function at the IT College commenced at 11 a.m. and was followed by the other two events at 12 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Discrimination: Mayawati

At a press conference at her Mall Avenue residence at 10.45 a.m. (15 minutes before the commencement of the free laptop distribution events), Ms. Mayawati slammed the SP government for wasting public funds on the scheme.

The BSP president alleged discrimination by the government and claimed that the beneficiaries of the free laptop scheme, as well as the unemployment allowance programme, were either their relatives, or were known to the Samajwadi Party leaders and workers.

Ms. Mayawati said preparations for the laptop distribution and unemployment dole functions began 15 to 20 days in advance.

She alleged that the expenses incurred in holding the programmes exceeded the money spent on procuring laptops. “This is misuse of public money”, the BSP president said.

Referring to the three-tier reservation policy of Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC), which was withdrawn late on Friday night, Ms. Mayawati said the policy was aimed to benefit a particular caste, the Yadavs. She said the disadvantaged and under-privileged sections were feeling discriminated.

Impose President’s rule

Ms. Mayawati reiterated her demand for the imposition of President’s rule in the State on account of the poor law and order situation.

Not to be outdone, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister hit out against his predecessor, describing the BSP rule as autocratic and said the party was befuddled by the achievements of the Samajwadi Party government. Talking to reporters at the sidelines of the laptop distribution function, Mr. Yadav said the government’s schemes were for the benefit of all sections of the society.

The Chief Minister said Ms. Mayawati (without mentioning her) had “erected stone structures and planted babool trees” when the BSP was in power. In this context, he mentioned the two new medical colleges at Azamgarh and Jalaun and said 350 medical seats have been added.

Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party and the BSP, the Chief Minister said some people were indulging in politics of communalism while others were playing caste politics. When the Chief Minister’s attention was drawn to the accusations on the deterioration in the law and order situation, he replied those having problems with the law and order should not visit Uttar Pradesh.

“Will benefit all”

In his address at the laptop distribution functions at IT College and Lucknow University, Mr. Yadav described the programme as a key to a student’s success.

He expressed satisfaction that pubic welfare measures were being implemented by the government. “These schemes would benefit all sections,” Mr. Yadav stated.

In addition to the student beneficiaries in the three functions attended by the Chief Minister, 17 girl students of Mahila Polytechnic were given laptops by the management of the institute.