‘BSP will give Haryana non-Jat CM’
Addressing a huge rally at Karnal in Haryana, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati made a strong attempt to strike an emotional chord with voters across communities. In a state that has seen violence against Dalits, Mayawati promised a non-Jat chief minister if the BSP came to power. However, avoiding any possible controversy, she was quick to add that her party was not anti-Jat. By announcing that one lakh permanent posts for sweepers will be created in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati went all out to woo the Valmikis, the caste of sweepers. Dalits constitute 19.3 per cent of Haryana's population and Valmikis constitute 19.2 per cent of the Dalit population. In UP, in comparison, the community is hardly 5 per cent of the Dalit population. No wonder, wooing Valmikis is a step in the right direction for Mayawati to reach out to an overwhelming Dalit majority of the state.
Mayawati's policy of projecting Brahmins as allies of Dalits continued in Karnal. Even before BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra called upon Brahmins to support the party, certain local Brahmin leaders were asked to give speeches supporting the party. And one of them was even allowed to conclude his address by proclaiming, "Jai Parshuram", instead of the standard BSP slogan of "Jai Bhim, Jai Bharat". Mayawati declared that if she came to power, she will extend the benefit of reservation to the poor among the upper castes.
There was also an attempt to reach out to the Punjabis settled in Haryana — reportedly 22.84 per cent of the state population. In fact, "representatives" of the community presented her a silver elephant, a gold key (symbolic of the key to Parliament), and a gold crown that she was careful not to wear despite repeated requests.
She played the minority card as well. While Muslim leader Momin Malik attacked the Congress and asked Muslims to join the BSP, Mayawati pointed out that while the Centre had waived off farmers' loans in the Budget, it had not provided loan waivers to the entrepreneurs from minority, SC/ST and OBC communities.