» Election » If Atal is unwell, how is he writing letters, asks Maya

If Atal is unwell, how is he writing letters, asks Maya

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
April 27, 2009 19:58 IST
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After training her guns at various top opposition leaders, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday targeted former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, raising serious questions about his health.

"When Vajpayee can neither walk nor talk and cannot even understand anything on account of old age and illness, how could he have written out an appeal for (BJP leader) Lalji Tandon," asked Mayawati , while questioning the authenticity of Vajpayee's letter being flaunted around by Tandon as an appeal for him from the BJP stalwart who held the prestigious Lucknow seat for five consecutive terms.

Seeking votes for her party nominee Akhilesh Das, a Congress turncoat, Mayawati said: "Tandon was busy showing a letter in the form of an appeal purported to have been issued by Vajpayee for the people of Lucknow; but I fail to understand how such an appeal could have been actually issued by the former prime minister, who was not even in a position to move about or express himself."

Vajpayee, who decided to keep away from the fray on account of ill-health, had handpicked Tandon to inherit his legacy this time.

Even as her remarks were sufficient to dub Vajpayee as senile and incapacitated, Mayawati sought to add in the same vein, "Anyway, I would like to wish him good health."

Training her guns at the other key contestant for the Lucknow seat -- Nafisa Ali of Samajwadi Party -- Mayawati observed, "It appears that Samajwadi Party could not find anyone fit enough to be fielded from Lucknow, that is why they initially sought to bring in film actor Sanjay Dutt all the way from Mumbai, but after he was denied permission on account of his criminal antecedents, they have imported yet another outsider."

While dismissing the Congress party as "dead" and "non existent", the BSP supremo showered praise on her own party nominee Akhilesh Das.

"Akhilesh Das is a local man, who has done a lot for this city. Earlier, he was in the Congress, where he felt very frustrated. So he opted for BSP, where he is sure to shine."

Reading out from a typed text, as usual, Mayawati flayed each of her key opponents --Congress, Samajwadi Party as well as BJP, while beating her own trumpet. "BSP government alone has delivered the fruits of development to the state and that too without any support from the Centre."

Vehemently defending the whopping expenditure of more than Rs 2500 crore on monuments devoted to various Dalit icons in Lucknow, she argued: "I am often criticised by certain sections, including the media, for dedicating a few monuments to great social reformers who championed the cause of Dalits in this country. But surprisingly, they see nothing wrong with twice the scale of investment and grandeur visible at the monuments raised in the name of the Nehru-Gandhi family along the banks of the Yamuna river in New Delhi."

The UP chief minister also issued a stern warning to Sanjay Dutt for his repeated declarations about giving his jaadu ki jhappi (magical hug) to her.

"I want to make it loud and clear to Sanjay Dutt that I do not believe in jhappi or pappi (kiss); dealing with criminals like him, I firmly believe in sending them straight to jail," she said, addressing a poll rally in Lucknow.

"And let him also know that even his own sisters are not interested in his jhappi-pappi gimmick," she added.

Referring to Sanjay's much-touted 'Gandhigiri', the UP chief minister said, "With the Supreme Court having confirmed his criminal antecedents by denying permission to him to contest the election, it was now clearly evident that all his 'Gandhigiri' was fake."
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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow