Thursday, February 9, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Dalit dilemma: Mayawati faces a tough battle

Elections | Updated Feb 10, 2012 at 09:43am IST
Dalit dilemma: Mayawati faces a tough battle
Sagarika GhoseSagarika Ghose, CNN-IBN

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati faces a tough battle in
the assembly elections.

Though her rallies so far have been massive leading to the belief that
her own Dalit votebank is intact, but some members of the community
face a dilemma about Mayawati.

She's still a symbol of Dalit empowerment, but have her policies
benefited them all?

The crowds have been mammoth at the rallies addressed by the Uttar
Pradesh Chief Minister. As Mayawati's helicopter descends, the crowd
bursts into waves and chanting.

"Chhade vipaksha ki chhaati par, button dabaaao Haathi par," says
Mayawati addressing a huge rally.

The support of the BSP chief is running high.

"Till I am alive, Mayawati should remain the chief minister," says a
charged up supporter of Mayawati.

"She is a part of my heart," says another.

The Election Commission's move of covering the Bahujan Samaj Party's
elephants has also struck a strong emotional chord.

"Cycles and cars are not covered, why only elephants," asks an old supporter.

Another supporter adds, "When the elephant is in the heart, it doesn't
matter if the statues are covered."

From the looks of it, Mayawati's vote bank is intact. Ambedkar
villages, schools for girls and boys and a new hospital have
contributed to a sense of well being in Mayawati's own constituency.
She herself sounded confident when she spoke to CNN-IBN.

"We have worked so much in all the fields that no government after
independence from any party has been able to do," said Mayawati.

Satish, an advocate from Ambedkar Village says, "The amount of work
that has been done here in 5 years, could not have been done by anyone
else even in 15 years."

However, some Dalits complain that they haven't got everything they
wanted from Mayawati.

"Mayawati has completely stopped the Dalit movement. She does not
think about Dalit," says a bearded man outside Ambedkar Mandir in

"She has cheated Ambedkarwad. She has cheated the mission. She has
cheated the poors," says one Dhani Ram Panther.

Meanwhile, in the backward region of Bundelkhand, where Congress
general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been making an extra effort to woo
backward castes, there is support for the Congress.

"We have seen all the governments, but not seen Congress yet.
Therefore, we'll make Congress win this time," says a voter.

There are misgivings about Mayawati's policy of Sarvajan Samaj, at the
same time appreciation of her development work. The Dalits of Uttar
Pradesh are in a dilemma about the woman who is the face of their


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