Statesman Mayawati?

Statesman Mayawati?
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First Published: Tue, Jul 22 2008. 12 21 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Jul 22 2008. 04 35 PM IST
New Delhi: Asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to make the nuclear deal a “prestige issue”, Bahujan Samaj Party chief and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati today said the United Progressive Alliance government should suspend further action on the agreement and leave it for the next government to finalize it. Mayawati seems to be gathering forces around her for an assault at the prime minister’s chair.
The Dalit leader talked about the nuclear deal and India’s foreign policy, as aggressively as she raised issues related to her community. She has already become the nucleus of the third front…written off soon after the Samajwadi party ditched it.
But Mayawati is all set to turn the tables.
“If Americans can change so fast and have a Black as a Presidential candidate, one can hope that India will change and have a Dalit woman emerge as a prime ministerial candidate,” said Shahid Siddqui, rebel SP MP who joined the BSP recently.
The Congress though remains sanguine, dismissing the threat of the third front as just an opportunistic alliance. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party has 17 MPs in the current Lok Sabha. Going by the absolute majority that her party got in 2007 UP state assembly elections, her numbers in the next Lok Sabha are expected to rise considerably. That should be reason for sober strategizing for the Congress and the Samajwadi Party given their dismal shape in India’s most politically important state.
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First Published: Tue, Jul 22 2008. 12 21 AM IST