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Help BSP form government at Centre, Mayawati asks voters
swears by “welfare of all communities,” quota for forward castes
Forward or backward castes, the poor suffer uniformly
‘Every community got its due share in BSP ticket allotment’
Deoria (Eastern UP): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s
inaugural election rally from her home State on Sunday saw a huge
turnout. The meeting, held in the eastern town of Deoria, showcased her
as Prime Minister-in-waiting. It also elicited a promise from her that
in the event she formed a Government at the Centre, she would offer job
reservation to the poor among the forward castes.
Ms. Mayawati ascended the stage to ear-splitting shouts of “U.P.
hui hamari hai, ab dilli ki baari hai (we have taken Uttar Pradesh, we
will take Delhi next). The crowd, estimated by the police at a lakh and
a half, a record for Deoria, kept up a continuous chant of slogans
revolving around the theme of her “impending” Prime Ministership.
“Bharat ki majboori hai; Behen Mayawati zaroori hai” (India needs
Mayawati), the audience sang, even as the U.P. Chief Minister spoke of
going beyond the State to set up a government in Delhi. Ms. Mayawati
said any government she formed at the Centre would be based on the
principle that all communities are equal. She came to power in U.P. on
the promise of “sarvajan hitaya” (welfare of all communities) and she
would follow the same policy in Delhi, the Chief Minister said.
Ms. Mayawati stressed that her concern was more about poverty than
caste. She said the poor suffered uniformly, whether they belonged to
the backward or forward castes. She said she had addressed many letters
to the Centre seeking reservation for the poor among the forward castes
but had got no response. “I want to tell you that the day we form a
government at the Centre we will give reservation to the upper caste
poor.” She added that she wanted to give Schedule Caste status to many
of the smaller castes currently included in the Other Backward Classes
The Chief Minister said the Bahujan Samaj Party had not entered
into electoral alliances with other parties, preferring instead to
fight on its own strength. However, in doing so, the party had ensured
that every community got its due share in ticket allotment. She asked
the audience not to waste their votes on mainstream parties like the
Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party but to put their entire weight
behind the BSP and elect a maximum of its candidates so as to help the
party form a government at the Centre.
Ms. Mayawati said the BSP was unique in many ways. Where other
parties drew their financial strength from corporate power and big
business interests, the BSP’s funds were built from the “sweat and
labour” of its cadre. “In the entire country, we are the only party
that does not depend on corporate interests. Our financiers are our
workers. This is the reason we are not under pressure from the big
business houses,” she said.
The rag-tag grouping of nine left-leaning and regional parties
has tried to sell itself as a viable alternative to the ruling Congress
Party and opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in
the run-up to the general elections to be staged from April 16 to May
On paper they seem a disparate group, but they say they are a
“democratic, secular and left-wing” bloc united by their desire to
elbow aside India’s two traditional parties, which they accuse of
failing to tackle such issues as unemployment and food shortages.
Despite attracting a crowd of around 200,000 people at a rally
this month, observers have poured cold water over the idea that the ad
hoc alliance can stick together — either before or after the election.
“This is a replay of the 1990s,” said Subhash Agrawal,
political analyst and editor of India Focus magazine, referring to the
anti-BJP and anti-Congress alliances that take shape every election
He said poor planning and inflated egos were likely to prevent the Third Front from ever forming a government.
“These people don’t even want to campaign with each other sometimes,” he added.
Deve Gowda, a former premier, has spearheaded the loose-knit
coalition, whose most prominent parties are the Communist Party of
India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the All India
Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagan (AIADMK) representing the states of
Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu respectively.
Gowda led one of the few non-Congress and non-BJP governments as prime minister in 1996, but his tenure lasted less than a year.
The lack of a common platform or ideology means such pre-poll
alliances have crumbled once results are announced, leaving them to act
at best as a spoiler to Congress and BJP hopes and instead prop up
larger parties, analysts say.
At a recent dinner for Third Front leaders held by Mayawati
Kumari, the firebrand leader of India’s low-caste Dalits, who leads the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), party representatives did their best to
project a united front.
Mayawati, the chief minister of India’s most populous state,
Uttar Pradesh, which also holds the most seats in parliament, has
flirted with the idea of joining the coalition but insisted the BSP
will contest elections on its own.
Her party could bring in as many as 40 seats.
But even if the fragile grouping defies all expectations and
makes a strong showing, it is not fielding candidates in enough
constituencies to grab the 273 seats needed to form a majority
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao, political columnist with the Daily
News and Analysis newspaper, says the Third Front parties will adopt an
approach of “sheer pragmatism” toward government formation.
“That’s why they’re saying we’ll make the necessary alliances only after the election,” he said.
Virtually all of the main parties in the Third Front have at
one time formally lent their support to either a BJP or Congress-led
government in exchange for a chance to be part of the ruling coalition.
There will be no political loyalty or ideology after the polls — just hard bargaining, analysts say.
It will “only be about how many concessions they can get from
either the BJP or Congress,” said Sanjay Kumar, a fellow at the Centre
for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi.
A total of sixteen parliamentary segments will go for poll in this phase.The chief Electoral officer of the state Anuj Kumar Bishnoi has reviewed the poll arrangements of several districts in
He has directed strict implementations of model code of conduct and fool-proof security arrangements during the electioneering and on the day of polling.Candidates may file their nomination papers till March 30.
which will go for poll in first phase are Bansgaon, Gorakhpur,
Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria, Salempur, Ballia, Ghosi, Azamgarh,
Lalganj, Machhlishahr, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Roberstganj and
Mirzapur spread in thirteen districts of four divisions of Azamgarh,
Vindhyachal, Gorakhpur and Varanasi. (ANI)
Delivering the annual Jayantrao Tilak memorial lecture at Patrakar
Bhavan on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Palshikar said that the
Third Front will definitely bring about a difference to the present
scenario. “The Congress should not be over confident and the BJP’s
allies are not sticking to them. All these factors give the Left Front
an advantage over the two,” he observed.
Palshikar also listed out the ten states — Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh,
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — which will play a major role
in government formation at the Centre. Citing that Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister Mayawati’s inclusion policy, which accommodates all castes and
creeds, was actually the Congress’ policy, he said, “Mayawati is now
making effective use of it. Though caste politics is relevant, the
voting patterns have changed. A voter will now prefer a party which he
feels will take care of him and the those of his caste.’’
religious minorities and the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe
communities continue to be aggrieved even 61 years after independence.
Many from these communities have taken to Naxalism (Maoism) and other
wrong ways because of this neglect,’ said Mayawati.
She spoke in Hindi for nearly 40 minutes and her speech was translated into Malayalam.
BSP has clear cut policies on foreign affairs, agriculture and
economics. All post-independence governments have sacrificed governance
to the interests of the rich land-owning class,’ she said.
BSP has decided to contest all the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Its
star candidate here will be former Congress MP and three time former
state minister Neelalohithadasan Nadar, who has been in a number of
parties during his political career.
is contesting from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, which he won in
1980 trouncing then veteran Communist Party of India leader M.N.
Govindan Nair. One of his rivals this time will be Congress candidate
Shashi Tharoor, former UN under secretary-general.
From a personal tool, chhotugoogle has entered the public domain
CHENNAI: Are you more comfortable with Hindi or Tamil than with
English? Are you looking for a search engine that is not
Your prayers have just been answered. With www.chhotugoogle.com,
a site affiliated to Google only in as much as the creator has used
to the appropriate language font. For instance, if you are hunting for
Bharathiyar’s poems, all you have to do is type in English the words
‘Bharathiyar Kavithaigal.’ Tapping the space bar after each word
converts it to the Tamil font. Hit ‘enter’ and the search engine
powered by Google will trawl the net and throw up a treasure trove of
Tamil sites featuring search content. Likewise, for Hindi.
Though it serves the needs of the poetically-inclined very well,
Chhotugoogle was originally intended, believe it or not, to help the
creator’s wife browse official Hindi documents online. The creator
Ranvir Prasad, an IAS officer currently posted as District Magistrate,
Sant Kabir Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, says as much.
His wife Selvakumari, also an IAS officer in U.P but hailing from
Tamil Nadu, was trying to get her way around administrative Hindi. Most
of the documents in the State available online are in Hindi. “She felt
that if there was a search portal to look for Hindi documents on
government websites, it would be useful. That’s when I threw together
for conversion of fonts to assemble the site,” Mr. Prasad explains.
It seems to be an all-family affair with his sister, Rambha Kumari,
also pitching in. She provided suggestions and inputs and also bought
the domain on which Chhotugoogle now rests. “I put together this
website during my free time. The idea was mainly to bring into the open
a large number of webpages in Tamil and Hindi that were hidden from the
public view, as they are not reflected in conventional searches. There
are some sites where you could search in languages like Hindi/Tamil but
you cannot search for documents in other fonts like Bamini (Tamil) and
Kruti Dev (Hindi). This, to me, seemed a great handicap.”
He continues: “For example in Uttar Pradesh, most of the documents
on government sites are in Kruti Dev 010 font and there was no means of
searching for any term within those documents. Now anyone can search
using chhotugoogle.com, as information for the public, including
details under the Right to Information Act and Below the Poverty Line
listings, is available in these fonts.”
On Chhotugoogle, you can search for Hindi documents in the Unicode
and Kruti Dev fonts; and Tamil documents in the Unicode and Bamini
fonts. No, you do not need to know how to type in these fonts, thanks
to automatic transliteration, says Mr. Prasad, a B.Tech from IIT
Kanpur. He worked for a short while in a software/hardware firm before
he joined the services as officer in the Tamil Nadu cadre in 2000.
More work to be done
Currently, the site hosts only a search feature. Much more remains
to be done on the site, according to its creator. “An interesting
addition will be a directory of good websites in Hindi/Tamil. I am
planning to add more languages and fonts based on feedback. I am
thinking of putting in a typepad with spell check and dictionary
support,” Mr. Prasad says.