With Delhi in mind, Mayawati keeps ears close to the ground

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 27 2007, 05:36am hrs
After successfully gaining power in Uttar Pradesh through dalit-brahmin social engineering and completing 100 days of rule, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo, Mayawati, is already flaunting her government's report card. Making it amply clear that her party's next move would be to grab power in Delhi, the chief minister claimed that since she assumed office in May 13 this year, her government had already taken as many as 100 decisions in 100 days.

However, a major highlight of her government's first 100 days is the announcement and subsequent withdrawal of the states new agriculture policy, after intelligence reports of its unpopularity with a majority of farmers. According to an official release, the government had to reverse its earlier decision with a view to protecting the interests of farmers. Under the new policy, formulated on August 3, 2007, corporate houses with net worth exceeding Rs 500 crore could enter into contracts with farmers and procure their produce. The states intelligence department conducted a survey in 70 districts, the release added.

On the law and order front, the state government said it has taken action against 948 out of 1,452 mafia elements, with the elimination of dreaded gangster, Dadua in July 2007 being described as a historic success.

For development of the backwards regions of Bundelkhand and eastern UP, Mayawati has demanded a Rs 80,000 crore Special Area Incentive Package from the Centre, over and above the provision of Rs 395 crore in the state budget for these two regions.

The chief ministers focus has been on the uplift of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and the weaker sections. The government has decided to set up regional rural employment generation centres, instead of providing unemployment allowances to the youth.

The amount of Rs 150 being paid under the old age and kisan pension scheme has been doubled to Rs 300. All lease-holders will now get direct possession of land on priority basis, while illegal land grabbers are being evicted. In addition, Scheduled Castes and Tribes will be given possession of gram sabha land on a priority basis, according reports.

Meanwhile, fearing a law and order problem following large-scale protests by retail traders, the Mayawati government last week ordered closure of Reliance Fresh and Spencer outlets in Lucknow and Varanasi and set up a committee under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary, Shashank Shekhar Singh, to study the impact of corporate entry into the retail sector. The committee will submit its report in a month.

While corporate representatives said they were still awaiting an official communique in this regard, farmer leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and Bharatiya Krishak Samaj have welcomed the Mayawati governments action.