Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati on Monday hit out at Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi, saying his government had led the country into an era that was “worse than the Emergency.” Addressing party workers of western Uttar Pradesh at a convention here, the BSP chief also reached out to OBCs, who had withdrawn their support in the last few elections. “Babasaheb wanted reservation for the OBCs. People belonging to OBCs are not getting reservation commensurate with their population. The issue of reservation in the private sector is still pending and so is reservation in promotions. The BJP is against the very idea of reservation,” said the four-time Chief Minister who is trying to revive the fortunes of her party after it won only 19 seats in the 2017 Assembly polls, down from 80 in 2012, its worst performance since 1991 when it had won 12 seats.Amid slogans hailing BSP founder Kanshiram, Babasaheb Ambedkar and herself by thousands of party cadres, many of whom had painted themselves in blue, the colour of the party, she said, “The situation in the country is worse than during the Emergency. In order to intimidate leaders of the Opposition and muzzle their voice, all the arms and agencies of the central government like Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Income Tax (IT) have been let loose on them.” She repeatedly accused Prime Minister Modi of acting against the welfare and interests of Dalits, the downtrodden and weaker sections of society. “I resigned from the Rajya Sabha because I was not allowed to speak for my people. What is the point of being a member of Parliament when I cannot talk about atrocities on Dalits in the Parliament of the country,” she said. Dalit intellectuals like Dr. Satish Prakash, who came to listen to the BSP leader told The Hindu that “the extent of the crowd which turned up to listen to her proves that she is still a mass leader and she cannot be dismissed.” “But the real question is not attracting crowds at rallies but winning elections. And to win elections with an aggressive BJP and Modi at the helm, the BSP supremo needs to do a complete makeover in how she connects with her cadres and the language of her politics. She needs to go back to the way BSP started. She needs to hit the ground,” said Dr. Prakash.Ms. Mayawati said that she would hereafter interact more with workers at such conventions on the 18th of every month. The party has planned eight such conventions across the State.
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