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Mayawati sees conspiracy on symbol issue

A view of the BSP rally organised in Lucknow to mark the 25th anniversary of the BSP's formation and the birth anniversary of its founder Kanshi Ram  

Atiq Khan

“Elephant statues erected in memorials for Dalit icons have nothing to do with BSP symbol”

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday attributed the purported move to freeze her Bahujan Samaj Party's election symbol, elephant, to a “conspiracy” backed by the Opposition parties. She rejected talk that the elephant statues erected in parks and memorials for Dalit icons had something to do with the symbol. In the statues, the elephants were shown in *swagat mudra' (welcome posture) with their snouts up, whereas the BSP's symbol shows the elephant with its snout down, she said addressing a mammoth rally organised here to mark the 25th anniversary of the party's formation and the birth anniversary of its founder Kanshi Ram. The BSP has to submit to the Election Commission on March 18 its reply to a petition filed against the elephant statues.If the elephant statues could be brought to the Commission's notice since the jumbo is the BSP symbol, the Commission should take note of the Congress' symbol of *hand' and the Samajwadi Party's *bicycle,' she said. Bicycles were being distributed to girls under the Savitribai Phule Scheme launched by the BSP Government and the hand was used by leaders of all parties to welcome people. “In that case, the hand and cycle symbols should be de-registered,” she said.

Ms. Mayawati also justified the erection of her own statues. “Is there any law in the country that bans the erection of statues of living leaders, and can funds be spent only on erecting statues of dead leaders and not the living ones?” The statues of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were erected throughout the country by the Congress; many schemes, colleges, universities, airports, railway stations and roads using government funds were named after them. In 63 years since Independence, she said, crores had been spent on building memorials and museums for the Gandhi-Nehru family. However, when statues of and memorials to Kanshi Ram and other Dalit icons were built, the Opposition charged the BSP with misusing government funds.

Congress anti-Dalit'

Ms. Mayawati termed the Congress anti-Dalit, arguing that it supported the caste system. She blamed the Congress regimes for corruption in UP and accused the Centre of stalling the State's development by not releasing funds. The BSP, she said, had achieved much more in the 25 years of its existence than what the 125-year-old Congress gained in the first 25 years of its formation.The Chief Minister accused the Congress and the Opposition parties of trying to finish the BSP in the last 25 years by making baseless allegations against Mr. Kanshi Ram and engineering a split in the party. She also mentioned the moves to corner her in the Taj Corridor and disproportionate assets case. Ms. Mayawati expressed the satisfaction that despite the tirade, she had managed to strengthen the BSP movement. She cautioned the party workers against the designs of the Congress, which, she said was trying to regain power in the State.The BSP rally was one of the biggest seen here in recent years with party workers from all parts of the country. Opposing the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form, Ms. Mayawati said her party would stage dharnas in district headquarters on April 14. She also warned of a nationwide agitation if the Centre does not bring prices down.

Opposition parties try to get BSP symbol frozenElephant shown in statues is different from what BSP symbol shows.

Probe into sudden appearance of bees

PTI reports:

‘Stung' by the sudden appearance of a huge swarm of honey bees at the venue of the rally, the Uttar Pradesh government has ordered an inquiry.

“Someone disturbed honey bees at the nearby central school building by lighting a fire below the hive, following which they hovered over the Rama Bai Ambedkar maidan for about an hour,” a government release said here.

The inquiry will reveal the mischievous elements behind the incident, it added.