Mayawati holds massive rally in Lucknow

August 9th, 2008 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party
By Sharat Pradhan
Lucknow, Aug 9 (IANS) All roads in Lucknow appeared to be leading to the Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan Saturday, where Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has convened her party’s day-long conclave - clearly aimed at projecting her as India’s next prime minister. Party activists drawn from different corners of the country headed for the sprawling 42-acre venue especially carved out by none other than Mayawati for her earlier rally here in October last year.

Almost every lamp post in Lucknow was plastered with huge portraits of Mayawati - with the Indian parliament in the backdrop.

Saturday’s meet has been called a “workers’ convention”, but Mayawati’s party lieutenants as well as the state machinery has left no stone unturned to convert the event into a loud show of the party’s strength. Party leaders and officials were engaged in round-the-clock preparations for the past few days.

The Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan as well as the entire state capital has been virtually painted in the BSP blue with thousands of party hoardings, banners and posters dotting the Lucknow skyline.

Before Mayawati arrived at the venue in a helicopter, party enthusiasts remained busy singing paens to her, repeatedly describing her as “future prime minister”.

“Pure desh mein mach gaya shor, haathi chala dilli ki oar” (The entire nation is abuzz with the news that the elephant (BSP symbol) is marching towards Delhi) was among the popular slogans.

While everyone referred to Kanshi Ram, her mentor and party founder, as the torchbearer - none missed out on emphasising that the consolidation of real power in the hands of the Dalits had been done only by Mayawati.

It was not just the crowd that was overwhelming, everything about the rally was grand - the logistics, the security and the ostentation was blatantly on display at the flower bedecked giant-sized dais draped in the party blue and white. A dozen split air conditioners were placed on the dais too.

The key slogan on all sides of the dais was “UP hamari hui, ab Dilli ki baari hai” (Uttar Pradesh is ours, and now it is the turn of Delhi), supplemented by loud cries of “Babasaheb aur Kanshi Ram ka mission adhoora, Behen-ji karengi poora” (The incomplete mission of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram will be completed by Mayawati) and “Bharat ki majboori hai; Behenji zaroori hain” (Mayawati is necessary for India), as the BSP chief walked up to the dais waving to her audience, attired in her charasteristic cream coloured salwar-kameez suit.

Expelled Congress leader and former minister of external affairs Natwar Singh was also present. He is expected to formally join the party Saturday.

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