Mayawati calls for Dalit-OBC unity

October 18th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj PartyLucknow, Oct 18 (IANS) Giving a call for unity between Dalits and Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati told a convention of her Bahujan Samaj Party here Saturday that such a caste combine could propel the BSP to power in New Delhi.”It is high time people realised that the plight of OBCs was quite similar to that of downtrodden Dalits, but the backwards cannot get what they deserve unless there was change of policies at the national level,” Mayawati told her party representatives belonging to different OBC groups and Dalits, drawn from all corners of the state.

“OBCs and Dalits are like two children of the same father; the only difference was that while Dalits chose to abide by Babasaheb Ambedkar’s advice right from the beginning, realisation dawned on the OBCs much later after the Mandal commission made its recommendations,” she said.

“Once we form our own government at the national level, then we can frame our own policies to rid these castes of all their backwardness,” she said, urging her party workers to get down to roping in all such backward castes that were still not associated with the BSP.

She told her audience amidst cheers: “Brace yourself for the coming Lok Sabha election in which we must grab the larger chunk of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats. I am confident that by bringing together Dalits, OBCs, minorities and upper castes under the common BSP umbrella, we will open our account in other states too. That is bound to put us on a different footing when it comes to the formation of the next national government.”

Mayawati in her 90-minute speech told her party leaders to remain wary of both the Congress and its allies.

The BSP chief did not mince words in criticising Congress stalwarts like late prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and also hit out at Rahul Gandhi.

“Remember, if you are benefiting today as an OBC, it is not because of Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi, but solely because of the foundations laid by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, that got translated through the Mandal commission.

“And don’t get impressed by the gimmicks played of late by the Congress Yuvaraj,” she added in an obvious reference to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

With the much hyped “social engineering” in mind, she said the BSP’s rise to power in the country’s most populous state entirely on its own for the first time could not have been possible without the support of upper castes, whom she thanked profusely.

“Today, our motto is to take along with us all castes, including the upper castes as well as religious minorities, as it was their support that became crucial in our ride to power in Uttar Pradesh,” she added.

Referring to her political mentor and party founder Kanshi Ram, she told her supporters how this “architect of social change” was never given his due by the powers that be.

“Kanshi Ram was not only responsible for translating Ambedkar’s dream about Dalit empowerment, but also for propelling OBCs to positions of power. Yet, neither the Congress-led UPA (United progressive Alliance) government at the centre nor the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party regime here agreed to observe mourning on the day of his demise.”

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