Gift me Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati urges voters
Anant Zanane, Updated: December 18, 2011 15:54 IST
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has raised the pitch
to woo the crucial Muslim vote ahead of the Assembly elections next
year. Addressing a rally in Muzaffarnagar, the UP Chief Minister urged
the people gathered to gift the state of Uttar Pradesh to her during
the Assembly elections next year.
"Congress has ruled for 40 years and during their rule Muslims have
been neglected, their interests have not been catered to. Our party
has worked day and night and along with every other part of society,
has taken care of Muslims as well," the BSP chief said.
"It will be a birthday gift to me if you vote for your own party (the
BSP)," she added.
Muslims constitute a formidable 18 per cent of the vote bank in the
state. So, a special train has ferried thousands of people from the
Muslim-dominated districts of western UP.
There is also heavy police deployment at the venue of the rally.
However, this massive rally comes at a time when her party's tallest
Muslim figure and her senior-most minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, is
facing a slew of corruption charges. The allegations against him are
also being probed by the state Lokayukta.
Like most of Ms Mayawati's grand events, this time too, Lucknow has
been painted in a blue hue. The nearly 12 km-long route from the Chief
Minister's residence to the venue is flanked by huge blue hoardings,
bearing her portrait.
For now, the Chief Minister has defended Mr Siddiqui saying that all
the charges have been raised by an issue-less Opposition, and that
these are malicious and baseless.
The rally will also see Ms Mayawati reaching out to the Thakur
community. She is also expected to use her party's recent
anti-FDI-in-retail stand to reach out to the Kayastha or the trader
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