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In First Rally, Mayawati Plays Up To Dalits, They Say BSP Is 'Anti-Virus'



She was two hours late , but when BSP chief Mayawati came on stage  at 1 pm at Agra's rally ground to launch her party's campaign for the upcoming UP polls , a crowd of over one lakh burst into loud cheers.

The reception for Mayawati was such, that for most part of her one-hour long speech, it was almost impossible to pick up her audio through the multiple speakers installed across the ground.

Attacking the BJP and the RSS on multiple counts, Mayawati said, "the central government has failed on all counts. Amid rising unemployment, RSS chief (Mohan Bhagwat) is saying produce more children. I want to tell him, yes Hindus will produce more than two kids, will you get them food?"



"The RSS chief should tell the BJP chief to first arrange for food for extra children," she said.

Mohan Bhagwat, at a public meeting in Agra yesterday, reportedly asked Hindus to produce more children.



A few weeks ago, now expelled BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh had accused Mayawati of selling party tickets and compared her to a sex worker. Today, she used a Hindi metaphor to reply, and got a thunderous response. "Aasmaan pe thookne se aasmaan kabhi nahin ganda hota hai , khud pe hi thook girta hai (when you spit looking towards the sky, it falls back on you)," she said.

Mayawati also reached out to her core constituency, the 21 per cent Dalit population in the state that she hopes will fully back her in the UP elections. "In BJP ruled states, Dalits are being persecuted, whether it is Rohith Vemula or Gujarat (Una incident) or what Daya Shankar Singh said about me... just like the Congress, if you go around sharing meals with Dalits , it doesn't mean anything," she said

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Rejecting allegations that tickets in the BSP are sold for money, she said,  "I want to ask our opponents, you say the BSP is a spent force, we are finished then why would people be so interested in buying our tickets? The truth is that other parties want to malign us."

She also accused media of "double standards", saying it only highlights accusations made on Dalit parties.   

For the ruling Samajwadi Party, Mayawati devoted about 10 minutes, accusing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of presiding over a lawless state .

"The Samajwadi Party government is only interested in helping goondas and mafias."

Outside the rally ground, 26-year-old Pankaj Kumar, a Dalit from the Firozabad district, said, "The BSP is like an anti-virus... it will soon remove all unwanted elements and politicians from UP."

Agra is an interesting choice to flag off her campaign. The western UP district has a significant population of both Dalits, her core support group, and Muslims, a combination she is hoping will lead the BSP back to power in the 2017 assembly elections.

In the next one month, Mayawati will address a rally every week. Her next stop is arch rival and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's constituency Azamgarh in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
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