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Nautch girls catch Cong on the wrong foot
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 20
A booklet and a group of nautch girls have forced Congress leaders in the state to look for cover. The two have unwittingly provided Bahujan Samaj Party, smarting after the rousing Congress rally at Ambedkar Nagar last week, an opportunity to get even.

The eight-page booklet was distributed on April 14 when Rahul Gandhi flagged off ten ‘Chetna Yatras’, ostensibly to mobilise the masses and Congress workers. The venue and the date were carefully chosen as it was not only the birth anniversary of Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar but also the constituency which had elected Mayawati thrice to the Lok Sabha.

But while Rahul Gandhi stole the show last week, the BSP has now hit back and pointed out that the eight-page booklet released on the occasion does not make any mention of Dr Ambedkar.

“This is precisely what the Chief Minister Ms Mayawati meant when she said that Congress had always ignored Dr Ambedkar and other dalit leaders. Why, the booklet does not mention even Jagjivan Ram, the other dalit icon of the Congress,” says BSP state president Swami Prasad Maurya.

The booklet devotes four lines to Lal Bahadur Shashtri and eight lines to Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister. But it has given one and a half pages to Mahatma Gandhi, one and a half pages to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi besides one and a half pages more to Sonia Gandhi and the Congress in the 21st century.

Party leaders are also squirming at reports that at another rally in Bulandshahr on Sunday, to remind people of the ‘glorious’ 125 years of the Congress, people were given a lesson in anatomy rather than history.

The assembled gathering was entertained for over three hours not by patriotic numbers but by nautch girls gyrating to raunchy numbers with cutouts of a host of Congress leaders providing the backdrop. By the time AICC General Secretary Pervez Hashmi and Mathura MLA Pradeep Mathur arrived on the scene, three hours behind schedule, most of the people had apparently left after the entertainment programme.

Congress leaders, red in the face, spluttered that an inquiry had been ordered into the Bulandshahr incident. As for the booklet, the omissions, though glaring, were ‘unintentional’, said the UP Congress spokesperson Subodh Srivastava.

They had glossed over the absence of any photograph of Dr Ambedkar in Congress posters by claiming that they were not ‘official’. But in the mine-field of UP politics, posters, a booklet and even nautch girls threaten to upset political calculations.





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