Sarcastic Mayawati says opposition has made her richer (Lead)

January 15th, 2009 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party

Lucknow, Jan 15 (IANS) Celebrating her birthday with less than usual fanfare, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Thursday sarcastically “thanked” the opposition parties for their “malicious campaign” against her fund collection and said her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) collected twice the donations this year compared to her previous birthdays.”Thanks to the venomous campaign launched by the opposition to defame me and my party by terming the party fund-raising on my birthday as extortion, I have received double the amount of what was gifted to me on Jan 15 last year,” Mayawati said at an unusually low-key celebration at her official residence here.

“My partymen and supporters were provoked by the false and baseless allegations levelled by the entire opposition - Samajwadi Party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Congress. They could have given a befitting reply to them.

“However, since they are a disciplined lot and I do not allow them to stoop down to the level of the opposition, they decided to adopt another course of action to give the opposition a befitting reply - go on an overdrive to raise funds for the party and give it to me as my birthday gift,” she added.

She, however, did not specify the amount that “would come in handy for use by the party at the next Lok Sabha elections”.

In the same sarcastic vein, she added: “I wish the opposition continues with such protests and demonstrations in the future on my birthday - that will only make me richer.”

Attired in a bright pink brocade salvar-kurta and a brown long coat, a perfect hairdo and a sober gold-ruby-diamond set in place of her usual strings of dazzling solitaires, she decided to take on each of her political adversaries one by one.

Unlike the past, there was neither a cake-cutting ritual nor the usual scramble by sycophant politicians, bureaucrats and top cops to offer gifts to the birthday girl.

Other than the 25-minute speech read out from written text, the brief 35-minute programme included launch of a number of development schemes, release of the 1,500-page fourth part of her autobiography followed by a vote of thanks by Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta.

“It is no secret that my birthday as well as that of (late) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram is traditionally observed as fund-raising day for the party simply because ours is not a party like others who get their millions from industrialists and big business houses,” the chief minister said.

Mayawati, who turned 53 Thursday, expressed her condolences to the family members of those killed in the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks. “It is to mourn those killed in the terror attacks that celebrations will be low-key this year and I will not even cut a cake,” she said.

In her brief address, she singled out the opposition Samajwadi Party and said it was trying to make capital of the murder of Public Works Department engineer M.K. Gupta, allegedly by BSP legislator Shekhar Tiwari, in Auraiya last month.

“The entire exercise of associating Gupta’s murder with some kind of extortion by my party leaders was a pack of lies, unleashed by the opposition with the sole intent of defaming me and my party,” she said.

“Let me tell you that the investigation so far has made it amply evident that the incident did not have anything even remotely connected to my birthday.

“We have taken the severest action against each of those involved in the murder. Even the victim’s family was so convinced with it that they withdrew their earlier request for a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe.

“Gupta’s family met me only two days back and expressed their full satisfaction with the investigation process,” she added.

Mayawati said the BSP will organise rallies at all the 403 state assembly constituencies where party leaders would give a “befitting reply” to the opposition’s charges.

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