Criticising the Centre for fuel price hike, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday said the decision exposed the United Progressive Alliance's “double-face” and “anti-people mindset.”
The Union government had often cited the increase in crude price in the international market as the reason for effecting a hike in petrol and diesel prices. However, “recently, international crude prices dropped. Therefore, the Centre should have subsequently reduced fuel prices. But they hiked them instead. This shows that the UPA is double-faced,” she said addressing a gathering here of around 10,000 Bahujan Samaj Party workers from Maharashtra and Gujarat.
As for the Congress directive to its Chief Ministers to reduce taxes on petro products, Ms. Mayawati said it was “a political conspiracy.”
Accusing the Centre of passing on the burden of price hike to the States, she said: “Some States ruled and backed by the Congress have reduced taxes, but in this we see the UPA's true nature. This is a larger political conspiracy. First you hike the fuel prices, but don't reduce taxes at the Centre and make the States answerable for the hike. The Uttar Pradesh government will take care of the needs of its people. We don't need the Centre's advice.”
Ms. Mayawati also blamed the UPA for farmers' struggles for land compensation, and called for a uniform land acquisition policy. “We will raise this demand in Parliament.”
On the issue of black money, she said at least 50 per cent of poverty in the country would be eradicated if the funds illegally stashed away abroad were brought back.
Making a pitch for the BSP in Maharashtra in the backdrop of the Phule-Ambedkar vision of social equality, she said Dalits and other backward classes “will have to take the master key of political power in their hands” to lead a dignified life.
‘Targeting Dalit CM’
Hitting out at parties undermining the Uttar Pradesh government headed by a Dalit, Ms. Mayawati named Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as a “manifestation of the casteist mindset of other parties.” Mr. Shinde, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, is the Congress' Dalit face in this State.
“The Congress, BJP and company don't have a problem with Sushil Kumar Shinde. But they have a problem with a Dalit Chief Minister,” she said.
A section of the media too twisted news about her government, Ms. Mayawati said.
In the wake of the controversies surrounding the death of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Y.S. Sachan and crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh, she said her government was dealing strictly with the perpetrators to create “an atmosphere free of injustice, crime and threat.”
Targeting the north Indian slum vote in the city, Ms. Mayawati demanded that the Maharashtra government provide a means of livelihood and houses to slum dwellers.
“In Mumbai, there are many north Indians and locals from the State who have come here in search of livelihood. Wherever they have found a means of earning, they live in slums. The Congress government in Maharashtra is planning to throw them out of the city limits. I want to tell the Maharashtra government to first provide livelihood to the people. Two-room houses should be built for them in places where they are currently settled.”
Ms. Mayawati said that in the next Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat, the BSP would contest all seats on its own.