Mayawati promises quota for upper caste poor (Lead)

October 19th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj PartyLucknow, Oct 19 (IANS) With the next Lok Sabha elections round the corner, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Sunday promised to provide reservation to the poor among the upper castes if her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came to power at the national level.”The reservation on the basis of economic and other parameters will enable the upper caste community members to address their problems, especially those related to poverty and unemployment,” she said.

“I have already written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.”

Addressing a convention of upper castes here, Mayawati held the Congress party “most responsible for the sorry status” of these communities.

Post-independence, the Congress has ruled the country and this state most of the time, but it never thought seriously of addressing the problems of upper castes, she said.

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of misguiding the upper castes, Mayawati said: “The BJP projects itself as a custodian of upper caste rights. But during my three earlier stints (as chief minister) when BSP ruled with the support of BJP, the latter always pressurised us to drop the welfare schemes for the upper caste community members.”

Mayawati called upon the upper castes to join hands with Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes “in order to get the key to the central and the state governments”.

“With this master key, all communities will be able to get rid of their problems themselves by involving themselves in policy-making,” she said.

Talking about the representation of various upper castes in the Lok Sabha and the assembly, Mayawati said: “The BSP ticket will be given only to those who can solicit full support of their community members.”

This was why more Brahmin candidates than those from other upper castes were fielded in the last assembly elections, said Mayawati.

The chief minister also accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of not taking adequate steps for the all-round development of the state.

“For undertaking welfare schemes for upper caste sections and other communities, I have written several letters to the central government, but it has not replied to any of the letters,” she said.

“Had the central government released funds for the Rs.80,000 crore (Rs.800 billion) package we sought, the development scene of the state would have been altogether different.”

The chief minister said the BSP was the sole political outfit that can work for an-all round development of all communities.

“BSP has no vested interests - unlike other political outfits, which have become a puppet in the hands of industrialists and multinational companies,” Mayawati told the gathering.

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