Debating India


Mayawati woos Brahmins

Sunday 12 November 2006

Special Correspondent

LUCKNOW: Once dubbed "Manuvadis," the Brahmins have become the most sought-after vote bank for the Bahujan Samaj Party. On Saturday, BSP supremo Mayawati unveiled her agenda of a Brahmin-Dalit alliance, whose basic objective is to win over the Brahmins who are feeling left out in the race for power in Uttar Pradesh.

The timing of her move assumes significance in view of the coming Assembly elections in the State. Besides, her agenda was unveiled within 24 hours of her controversial remark on Muslims, which evoked strong protests from the minority cell of the Samajwadi Party.

The former Chief Minister issued a retraction late on Friday night, stating that she had not meant to offend the Muslims.

Brahmins constitute around nine per cent of the State’s population and once upon a time wielded considerable political clout in Uttar Pradesh.

Since the demise of the Congress governments in the State, they have not tasted political power - Narain Dutt Tiwari was the last Brahmin Chief Minister of the State.

In her address to the Bhai-Chara Samiti (brotherhood committee) of the Brahmin Mahasabha of the BSP here on Saturday, the former Chief Minister said that like the Dalits, the Brahmins too were economically backward.

She said Brahmins and Dalits had one thing in common - poverty and unemployment. Unless these issues were addressed by the government there would be no end to their economic plight.

Describing Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav as a modern-day `Kans," she cautioned the upper castes, particularly the Brahmins, that their lives, property and religion were not safe under the present dispensation.

The BSP president attributed the economic backwardness of the Brahmins to their preference for wrong parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which, she said, had done nothing to remove poverty and create jobs.

Ms. Mayawati appealed to the Brahmins to support the BSP and promote Brahmin-Dalit "bhai-chara" (brotherhood) in the rural areas.

She promised them permanent employment in the BSP regime - unlike the Samajwadi Party Government which was distributing unemployment allowance - which would enable them to improve their living standards.

See online : The Hindu

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