That time of the year is coming closer….Madam’s birthday. No, this is not a reference to Sonia Gandhi but to our own Behenji -wanting -to -turn –Madam, Mayawati. If you cringed last year on seeing senior police officials and state bureaucrats giggling nervously and feeding (stuffing is a more fitting description of the act) the pink clad, Mayawati chunks of birthday cake then there is worse in store this year.

 Back then she preened and smiled for the cameras, clearly reveling in the ‘naked’ power she wields in the, politically, most powerful state of India. This year the Madam will for sure repeat her act but before that in an unexpected preview, the Madam has been spotted on television looking visibly irritated and angry.

The reason is that just as her birthday celebration plans and the accompanying fund-raisers were rolling along smoothly one PWD executive engineer by the name of Manoj Kumar Gupta has gone and died a brutal death. Worse still the ‘cunning’ media in ‘connivance’ with Madam’s opponents are harassing Madam at every press conference and public appearance asking her to explain the connection between Manoj’s death and her ‘fund raising’ drive. No matter how many times she explains that there is no connection the media refuses to let go of the matter. The people of Auraiya (the unfortunate Manoj’s home town) are also not ‘behaving’ themselves and are busy protesting on the streets and burning down buses and public property.

What happened in Auraiya (Manoj’s death by torture and beating, allegedly by the Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Shekhar Tiwari and his men) was bound to happen sooner or later given the political legitimacy that Mayawati has been giving, over the years, to the questionable practice of the collection of funds for her and her party. She has openly said at public meetings that people must contribute for her on her birthday. She did try and make this sound more politically correct by saying that the people must see her birthday as a day of fund collection for the Bahujan Samaj Party.

In possibly the most naked expression of personal greed, on a public platform, Mayawati even went on record once saying that she had used the millions that her impoverished fellow citizen’s had ‘contributed’ to her to buy two palatial bungalows for herself in Lucknow and Delhi!

Her collection drives work through her network of party legislators and workers who divide territories between themselves and then fan out to extort money from business people, government servants and anyone else they can pressurize. Targets are given to usually unwilling donors and they are threatened with dire consequences if the ‘birthday party’ targets are not met. Most cough up and live to see another day. Some do not, and end up dead like engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta of Auraiya.

is no one to take on Mayawati’s open corruption in Uttar Pradesh because the state sends so many M.Ps to the Lok Sabha that any party that gets on her wrong side is bound to suffer when the time comes around for cobbling together a coalition government. This is how coalition politics works in our country. If the government at the centre needs the collaboration of Mulayam Singh then all corruption charges against him are dismissed and if it is Mayawati whose political allegiance is being sought then she gets a clean chit. And thus the ‘musical chairs’ of corruption continues birthday after birthday in the state.

 So while the common man and woman in the state continues to suffer on every parameter from education, health, infrastructure to socio economic development a certain oversized, pink clad, diamond ‘encrusted’, Barbie will have another expensive birthday bash soon. As she childishly blows out the candles this year she is unlikely to spare a thought for the life that her party men extinguished and the light that went out in one Auraiya household. Happy (bloody) Birthday, Madam.

 P.S: The accused Shekhar Tiwari is a MLA who even before this incident has 14 criminal charges against him !!!

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