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On day of celebration, Maya attacks Centre

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
May 13, 2008 19:33 IST
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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, who completed one year in office on Tuesday, blamed the central government for laying thorns in her path.

She was however confident that neither the Centre nor her political adversaries in the state would be able to arrest the march of her party.

"Despite the poor economic legacy that I inherited and even without the least cooperation from the Centre, we have managed to take Uttar Pradesh forward," Mayawati told the audience at an impressive function organised to mark the completion of her first year in the coveted chair she had held three times earlier.

A year on, Mayawati bulldozes opponents

Besides training her guns on the Centre for denying her demand for a special economic package worth Rs 80,000 crore, she also conveniently passed the buck to the UPA government to amend the Constitution to increase the reservation limit in government jobs.

"Having urged the Centre to make provision for reservation to the poor among the upper castes, I have also pointedly asked the prime minister to make necessary amendments to do away with the 50 per cent limit on reservations," she said.

"Since I have also sought reservation for Dalits converted to Islam or Christianity, the inclusion of all these new categories would require lifting of the 50 per cent limit; it would also be appropriate for the Centre to bring the changes under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution so that it becomes permanent," she added.

What is Mayawati really like?

The day was special as this was the first time that she had managed to ride on to power on her own. Yet, in a departure from her usual ostentatious celebrations, the function was relatively low-key -- sans cutting of cakes, dancing sessions or slogan shouting by sycophants.

The giant-sized stage of a sprawling 3,000-capacity air-conditioned auditorium in Lucknow was beautifully decked with carnations and tiny blue lights.

Other than a brief and crisp welcome address by state Chief Secretary Prashant Kumar Misra, there were no speeches by anyone other than the chief minister. Attired in her favourite cream satin-silk salwar-suit and a relatively modest diamond set, she inaugurated the function by lighting a lamp.

Mayawati: Dalit queen, now Brahmin messiah

Her 70-minute address sounded more like a budget speech, putting to sleep some of her ministers as well as legislators, as she went about listing all that she had declared on the floor of the state assembly not very long ago.

She also laid as many as 29 foundation stones for projects to be initiated, launched a dozen schemes besides dedicating to the people six other facilities. A bulk of these projects and facilities are related to the augmentation of power, setting up of new educational institutions, drinking water schemes, inauguration of bridges, flyovers and widening of roads and highways in different parts of the state.

In another departure from the norm, her parents also accompanied her to the function and Mayawati sat next to them after she came down from the stage to watch a cultural show put up by school children.

How Mayawati created history in UP

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow