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Mayawati takes a dig at AAP, Kejriwal

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Lucknow, Jan 15 :

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati Wednesday broke her silence on the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and said the tall claims of the party were not true as her government had long back slashed power tariffs in Uttar Pradesh.

“In 2008, when our party was in power in Uttar Pradesh, we brought down the Rs.150 per month power bills in villages to Rs.110 per month, and later hiked it only marginally to Rs.125 per month after ensuring 14-hour power supply,” she told a massive crowd of supporters and party workers at the “Savdhan” (caution) rally in the state capital.Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh Age: 51 The feisty and single Kumari is the first untouchable, or Dalit, woman to become the head of an Indian state, and this is her fourth term in office. She was mentored by the crafty Kanshi Ram, who founded and headed the Bahujan Samaj Party in India's largest and most politically influential state, Uttar Pradesh, which is also among the poorest. Mayawati has modernized along the way. She now sports a short haircut, wears big diamond studs in her ears and nose, and attracted unwanted attention for her extravagant 47th birthday party in 2003, which featured 100,000 sweet cakes, 5,000 bouquets of flowers, and a 50kg birthday cake. She has also often been accused of grand corruption: Last year she tried to sell the land around the famous Taj Mahal to set up tourism and pocket the proceeds. New Delhi slapped corruption charges on her that she is still fighting. In June, she declared assets worth $13 million, 400% more than at the time of the 2004 elections.

While her party has been dismissive of the AAP as a small time phenomenon, Mayawati also took a dig at the AAP drive to collect funds for the party.

“My party will not run on funds collected by people but on the toil, blood and sweat of our supporters” she said.

She also said that political leaders are now talking of water supply being made free. Her government had not hiked water prices.

The Dalit leader targeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying he projects himself as a representative of the “Vaishya” and “Baniya” (trader castes) and would deprive the downtrodden and deprived castes of their rightful place in society.

She said that despite the rise of some parties in the Delhi state assembly elections, the BSP’s voter base remains intact.

(IANS)