Her plea to speak for the Dalits goes unanswered; Mayawati resigns from Rajya Sabha

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Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 18.7.2017 saw some major drama when Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati walked out of the house for not allowing her to speak about the alleged atrocities on Dalits in UP. After the walk out, she met Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha later in the evening to hand over the resignation as Rajya Sabha MP.  She resigned hours after she had angrily walked out of the Upper House of Parliament. While walking out she had declared that she would quit the house if she was not allowed to speak on what she called frequent attacks on Dalits in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  Vice President Hamid Ansari said that Mayawati has detailed in her three page resignation letter the reasons for quitting. In her resignation letter she mentioned

“I simply wanted the Rajya Sabha Chair to pay attention to the atrocities against the less fortunate sections of the society, especially the Dalits. As a representative when I am not allowed to speak for them, I have no choice but to resign”. She earlier said that she was asked in Parliament to reduce her speech to three minutes.

The dramatic move by Mayawati is seen as an effort to strengthen her Dalit support base and re-establish herself as the only leader of the community after a devastating defeat in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections earlier this year. In the assembly elections her party could win only 18 seats and BJP went on to win more than 300 seats out of the total of 403 seats. As a result of this win BJP could make major inroads into UP’s important Dalit votes. There are speculations that Mayawati may contest the Lok-Sabha by-election in UP to return to the Parliament.  She could be also planning to rebuild her party in the state in time for the 2019 general election. After her return to UP she may be hoping to return to Rajya Sabha with the help of the Congress and her arch rival Samajwadi Party.