In April, 2007 while filing her nomination papers for Assembly elections Mayawati had declared her assets to be worth Rs. 52 crores. While filing her income tax return for the assessment year 2008-09 she estimated her income to be Rs. 60 crores and had deposited Rs. 15 crores as advance tax. The actual income is likely to exceed this estimate at the end of this financial year. As such her name has been included in the list of a few topmost earning persons of India. Even before this Mayawati was embroiled in a case of acquiring disproportionate assets, covering the period of 1995-2003. This was when her declared income was paltry Rs 88.70 lacs. The interesting thing here is that the super sonic build up in Maya’s wealth has actually come after the filing of this case and that too in a very short period from 2004 -2007.
Now the question arises as to what are the sources of her income and what are the consequences of this amassing of wealth by her. It is also pertinent to discuss as to apart from Mayawati who else are the beneficiaries of this money game. What is the loss and gain of Dalits in this game of exchange of money? Some of the legitimate and questionable sources of her income will be discussed later.
It is a matter of great surprise and anguish to go through the arguments being put forward by Mayawati and her followers to justify her burgeoning wealth. It will be better to judge Mayawati by the ideals and norms laid down by Dr. Ambedkar, which she often claims to follow. During a conversation with some journalist Dr.Ambedkar had remarked that," my opponents have been levying all sorts of allegations against me. But none could dare to levy a single allegation on me regarding my integrity and character." Hence it will be proper to judge Mayawati on these parameters.
As regards character, it is of no use to discuss character of any of the present politicians. The recent exposures of many politicians on this front have left no scope for discussion and evaluation. The less said the better. The present politicians play many underhand games of which the public has almost stopped taking notice of and discussing it.
As regards integrity it has become a victim of every kind of dishonesty both moral and material. Mayawati is no exception to it. Now let us judge Mayawati on her score on integrity. It is quite bold of Mayawati that she makes no secret of her hunger for power and wealth. She takes money during her birthday celebrations as gifts from her followers and well wishers. She takes it during elections by selling tickets to the highest bidder. There have been allegations of money being taken by her in various projects and schemes. Transfers and postings are also said to be an important source of corruption for the persons in power. CBI has already prepared a charge sheet against her in a case of ill-gotten assets worth Rs.30 crores. The Taj Corridor Scam is still hanging fire. Ganga Express Highway Project has already raised a lot of dust.
One argument being put forward by Mayawati and supporters is that she needs it to run her party. It is being put forward that she is being gifted money by her followers out of love and affection. It is noteworthy that the majority of her followers are Dalits of whom 60% happen to be below poverty line. As such it is obvious that these so called gifts are either being given by her Non- Dalit followers or they are being routed through Dalits to make black money white for Mayawati. Both these processes are not beneficial for her Dalit constituency and Dalit politics as well. It is corrupting both Mayawati and her Dalit followers.
Non-Dalits who are paying money directly or indirectly are the major beneficiaries. With money and muscle power they are gaining positions in Assembly and Parliament. Many of them are known criminals and mafias including some who had committed atrocities on Dalits. Her Dalit constituency does not look into the credentials of the party candidates during election. They simply follow the dictates of Mayawati and vote for the candidates selected by her. As such they are losing their self respect and moral courage to oppose the wrong doings of Mayawati and her lieutenants.
It is alleged that Mayawati sells her party tickets at exorbitant rates to the highest bidder. It is a common knowledge that candidates are changed many times before the selection reaches the final stage. The main consideration is said to be the money. After getting the ticket they in turn invest a lot of money in elections by buying votes through party workers who are bound to be infected with corruption. This deprives the genuine party workers of the chance to stand in the election because they cannot afford to pay for party tickets. As such a large number of criminals and mafia dons have found place in the present day party. BSP's journey from 'Bahujan' to 'Sarvjan' is full of such episodes.
As regards the need for raising money through corrupt means to run a political party it will be apt to refer to what Dr. Ambedkar had to say on this point. In his famous speech on "Future of Parliamentary Democracy" he had remarked, "If moneyed people try to influence the elections by contributing to the election fund of any political party, what will be the result. If the party to which they supported financially comes into power they will naturally try to extract concessions for themselves either by modifying the present legislation or by influencing the party in power to legislate in such manner as would be beneficial to their interests." Now we can just think of the persons paying lacs and crores to buy Assembly and Parliamentary seats. Will not they do their best to earn back the money they have invested in elections? Consequently Dalits and other poor people will be robbed of their due. The all prevailing corruption in almost all the welfare schemes and development works is the direct consequence of this political corruption in U.P. Dalits and all other poor men are the resultant losers.
It is universally accepted that "as the means are so will be the end ". Now if the means are corrupt the end result is bound to be corrupt. Secondly it is a hard fact that Dalits are the worst victims of the present corrupt system and are expected to oppose and fight against this system. Now the Dalits when they occupy a position of power become a party to the corruption, it gets legitimacy and the chances of its being uprooted get lost. The slogan of "Change of system" becomes a hoax.
Regarding integrity and character of leaders Dr. Ambedkar in his famous address titled "Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah" had remarked,"... Observe carefully what qualities count for most in public life. Is character becoming of greater or less important? Are men who obtain the highest posts in the nation men of whom, in private life irrespective of party, competent judges speak with genuine respect? Are they of sincere convictions, consistent lives and indisputable integrity? It is by observing this current that you can best cast the horoscope of a nation." I think it applies in the case of Mayawati and other Dalit leaders as well.
"Hero worship" is another mental attribute which has infected the Dalit followers of Mayawati. Here I would like to quote Dr. Ambedkar on hero worship which many supporters of Mayawati take pride in. Dr. Ambedkar in the above address had further remarked that,"Hero worship in the sense of expressing our unbound admiration is one thing. To obey the hero is a different kind of hero worship.There is nothing wrong in the former while the latter is no doubt a most pernicious thing. The former is only man's respect for everything which is noble and of which great man is only an embodiment. The latter is the villain's fealty to his lord. The former is consistent with respect, but the latter is a sign of debasement. The former does take away one's intelligence to think and independence to act. The later makes one a perfect fool. The former involves no disaster to the State. The latter is the source of positive danger to it." I think that each one of us should take this warning very seriously.
On another occasion while warning his followers Dr. Ambedkar remarked, "... ideas of hero worship will bring ruin on you if you don't nip them in the bud. By deifying an individual you repose faith for safety and salvation on a single individual with the result that you get into the habit of dependence and grow indifferent to your duty. If you fall a victim to these ideas, your fate will be no better than logs of woods in the national stream of life. Your struggle will come to naught" I think all of us should take notice of this warning and learn some thing from it. We must be intellectually honest and objective in our evaluation of any one including Mayawati.
S.R.Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd.)