Mayawati Quits Rajya Sabha, Hours After Storming Out of House
Earlier in the day, as day two of the Monsoon Session began, Mayawati left the Rajya Sabha, claiming she was not allowed to speak about the atrocities against Dalits.
File photo of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: BSP President Mayawati on Tuesday formally handed over her resignation from the Rajya Sabha, hours after storming out of the house.
When the ruling dispensation is not giving me time to express my views, I think tendering my resignation is the only appropriate thing to do, Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament.
Mayawati said that as she started expressing her views, members of the ruling BJP, including its ministers stood up, and tried to stop her from talking.
"With the objective of not letting me speak on such an important issue (of atrocities on Dalits), Ministers obstructed the proceedings in the house," the former UP CM said in a statement later.
Mayawati also added that the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman "instead of asking ruling party's MPs to remain quiet, ringed the bell, and asked me to sit."
Earlier in the day, as day two of the Monsoon Session began, Mayawati left the Rajya Sabha, saying she was not allowed to speak about the atrocities against Dalits.
“If I am not allowed to speak in Parliament about the people and constituency I represent, what is the point in continuing as the member of the house,” said Mayawati speaking to the media. In half an hour of the House meeting for the Monsoon Session, she had made her political statement and left.
But in those thirty minutes, it was a vintage Mayawati performance. Aggressive, demonstrative and un-yielding. Pointing figures, flailing her hands at the Treasury Benches amid the ruckus. It had both the intensity and surprise which she was once known to wield- an act of political redemption after a string of defeats in her own backyard.
Her party drew a blank in the last Lok Sabha polls. With more than 20 percent votes in the Assembly elections earlier this year, she could manage less than twenty seats in the house of four-hundred odd MLAs.
Her Rajya Sabha term ends in April next year. She does not have numbers to return to the Upper House.
BJP has been aggressively eating into her vote-bank. Selection of Ramnath Kovind as NDA’s President-pick is aimed at 2019 general elections with an eye on UP where BJP won more than 90% seats in 2014.
Mayawati knows BJP will try to squeeze her further. SP’s Muslims and Yadavs are exclusive to BJP’s traditional vote-base. It is BSP’s Dalit BJP is eyeing. The reasons are apparent. There is a distinct possibility now that all of the opposition in UP may come together in 2019. That is more than 50 percent of the polity; and in first past the post system, when you fall, you never know where you will land.
In her resignation speech (if one may call it that) there were tell-tale signs of lurking fears of aggressive poaching by the BJP in the days ahead. “BJP is dreaming it will be able to influence Dalit votes by nominating a person from the community for the President’s elections,” she said.
It was a carefully crafted speech where she spoke about Dalit atrocities under BJP rule in UP and outside. At the same time, Mayawati did not forget to mention the recent murder of five Brahmins at Rae Bareli which led to open war of words between two ministers in Yogi Adityanath’s Cabinet. She always has an eye for constituencies outside her core vote base.
At the same time, Dalit czarina’s aggression also betrayed nervousness at the emergence of new subaltern leadership across the country- from Jignesh Mewani in Gujarat to Chandrashekhar Azad in UP. In the last two years, from public flogging by cow vigilantes in Una to Rohith Vemula episode at Hyderabad Central University, Dalit mobilizations have fizzled out in absence of any party stepping forward and taking leadership.
If BSP or any other party is now being able to move in to sustain channelize these movements, someone else will.
Winding up her speech at the forecourt of the Parliament house, Mayawati drew an interesting analogy.
Between Dr. Ambedkar’s resignation from the Nehru cabinet after many failed attempts at getting the Hindu Code Bill passed and Mayawati of 2017 whose voice, she said, was also being suppressed.
Ambedkar resigned as he sought to organize the Dalits and the downtrodden before the first general elections. BSP, on the other hand, has been tried and tested by the electorate many times over.
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