Interview with Chief Minister Mayawati.
CLOSE associates aver that when Mayawati sets her mind on something she pursues it single-mindedly. They cite as an example the way in which the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief worked out a plan for the 2007 elections nearly two years ago and followed it up with its systematic implementation. Excerpts from an interview with Mayawati a day after she took over as Chief Minister:
In your remarks after taking over, you said improving law and order would be one of your priorities. You also suggested a reservation scheme for the economically deprived among the upper castes. What are the other priorities?
Development of Uttar Pradesh and making it an uttam pradesh [ideal State] would be the other priority. For that I have to check the financial situation of the State first. After that we will evolve a comprehensive action plan for the development of the State. My officers have started the evaluation process and you can see the development plan in the near future.
Kanshi Ramji repeatedly said during the formative years of the party that Dalit samaj (Dalit society) or bahujan samaj should develop in four areas, namely, agriculture, trade and industry, politics, and government...
[Interrupts] We are not pursuing a bahujan samaj agenda now. Now the principal focus will be the welfare of sarva samaj. Of course, my government will have special programmes for uplifting the weaker sections, but at the same time, there will also be a focus on the economically backward sections among the upper caste communities.
What is the kind of Uttar Pradesh you want to see?
I would like to see an Uttar Pradesh that the common man of the State wants to see, a State where the people can lead a peaceful life and improve their socio-economic status.
There is a perception that conflict exists between the socio-economic interests of the various communities of the sarva samaj you have brought together. What difficulties do you perceive in handling this?
I do not think I will have any difficulties in handling this. If I could get the sarva samaj to vote unitedly for me, why can I not advance their socio-economic interests together? I am certain I can do that.
Specifically, there is a vast difference between the land holdings of Dalits and Brahmins. How can their socio-economic interests...
[Interrupts] The sarva samaj development plan will take everything into consideration and we will provide a good, model government.
Will land reforms be part of the agenda of this government?
See, I have just taken over as the Chief Minister. We are looking into the financial situation that the State is in at present. We shall think about all this once our evaluation process is over.
What is the difference that you perceive between your three earlier stints and the present one?
I can fulfil the tasks I have set for myself and the government relatively easily this time since the BSP has a majority on its own.
Earlier, I had the limitation of having to depend on others for support.
Will the BSP having a majority on its own generate greater hopes in the bahujan samaj?
The mandate that I have got in this election is to advance sarva samaj-oriented development and the government will stick to that.