LUCKNOW: Celebrations started in BSP office early on Friday morning as soon as the news arrived that Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the CBI's case against Mayawati. As jubilant supporters burst firecrackers and distributed sweets, the dalit leader appeared before the media and announced that she had got justice after nine years and that her position had been vindicated. While thanking party workers for standing behind her and her counsel Harish Salve and SC Mishra, who is also BSP MP and general secretary, Mayawati said that she was victim of political vendetta during the past nine years over the case. While the opposition parties were guarded in its reaction, political pundits felt that it would help the Congress party more in political terms than Mayawati.
Reading out from a written speech, the BSP supremo compared herself with dalit icons Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar saying that anti-dalit forces had created obstacles in his way as well and vowed to ahead the message of Babasaheb and BSP founder Kanshi Ram. However, what made her short speech significant was the fact that she did not take name of any party while mentioning about political vendetta, although she had gone on record in the past that BJP-led NDA government at the Centre used the CBI to lodge Taj Heritage Corridor (THC) and disproportionate assets (DA) cases against her in 2003-2004 and that the Congress-led UPA government has also been misusing the CBI against her. Mayawati, in fact, had also said several times during her campaign for UP assembly elections earlier this year that Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2004 had assured her relief in corruption cases if BSP supports Congress.
While Maya tactically chose not to name the BJP or the Congress, her close aide SC Mishra and other party leaders specifically mentioned the name of BJP-led NDA government for lodging FIR in DA case against Behenji. However, they also chose not to name Congress. Instead, in their statements, BSP leaders said that successive Central governments had been misusing the CBI against Mayawati. Political analyst, however, felt that there was a connection between the 'restrain' exercised by BSP leaders in naming Congress and CBI presenting a 'weak case' against Mayawati. They said that though the CBI filed case against Maya under the BJP-led NDA government, it was the Congress-led UPA government which derived maximum benefit from it as UPA has been in power at the Centre from 2004 till date. Now an attempt is being made to project that the BJP misused CBI and not the Congress, analysts said.
The observation of political analysts got credence from the fact that top Congress leaders in UP chose to remain silent over the issue while the lower rung in their guarded statements blamed BJP for misusing the CBI against Mayawati. Similarly, top BJP leaders also kept mum, while secondary line blamed the Congress for using the CBI to pressurise BSP for political gains. They cited example of 2007, when the then UP governor, TV Rajeswar, denied permission to CBI to prosecute Mayawati in THC case and thereafter, the BSP voted for UPA's presidential candidate. This time again, BSP has announced support for UPA's presidential candidate. They also pointed out that in April 2010, Mayawati saved UPA government in the Lok Sabha during cut motion in budget session brought by BJP and Left parties after the CBI told Supreme Court that it can consider withdrawing case against Maya.
The reaction of BSP's main rival SP was even more interesting. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his chief minister son, Akhilesh Yadav, did not issue any statement apparently because the SC is expected to deliver judgement in DA case against Mulayam and family on July 30. However, lower rung SP leaders were ambivalent in their reactions. On one hand SP leaders welcomed apex court's decision and joined chorus with the BSP leader in calling the CBI "a political tool" of the Central government, on the other hand they also said that "it was not Mayawati's victory but was the CBI's loss". "Now, did the CBI commit this error on purpose to save Mayawati or was it a genuine mistake, these questions need to be answered," SP general secretary Shahid Siddiqui told reporters in Delhi. In Lucknow, senior leader Azam Khan said that Maya might have got a clean chit in a particular case but people know who is corrupt.
Political analysts said that the SC verdict was a personal relief for Maya but politically it might not benefit her. "The DA case was filed in 2004 but in every election thereafter Mayawati's vote share increased and she came to power in 2007 with majority. It was the corruption during her rule in the state which hit the common man the most led to her defeat first in 2009 Lok Sabha elections and in 2012 assembly polls," said Ashish Awasthi, an analyst. Another analyst, Sudhir Panwar said "the SC verdict is first good news for Maya after assembly poll defeat. Indictment of BSP ministers in corruption cases by the Lokayukta tarnished BSP's image and affected moral of workers that reflected in the assembly polls. The exoneration in DA case on technical ground is a breather for Maya and will provide Congress an opportunity to blame BJP for misusing CBI. And, don't be surprised if CBI files a review in the case petition after the Presidential elections".
[Courtesy: TOI, July 7, 2012]