LUCKNOW:Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for proclaiming himself “mazdoor number one” at an event on May 1, Workers’ Day, terming it “ridiculous” and an “insult” to the labourer.
Also targeting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Ms. Mayawati called his pilot project to provide highly subsidised meals to labourers a mere “eyewash,” intended for “cheap publicity.”
Mr. Modi had called himself “mazdoor number one” on Sunday when he launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in the eastern U.P. district Ballia. The scheme aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) households over the next three years at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore.
Terming Mr. Modi’s overtures towards labourers “cosmetic,” Ms. Mayawati accused him of misleading the people with “sweet words.” “When PM Modi calls himself mazdoor number one, isn’t it an insult to the mazdoor who toils whole day in the sun, battling hunger and thirst? In times of acute price rise, not increasing the daily wages of labourers is grave injustice,” the former Chief Minister said.
Instead of delivering long speeches and wasting money on public functions, it would have made a real change to the labourers’ lives had their daily wage been increased. Her government had increased their daily wage from Rs. 58 to Rs. 100 and then to Rs. 120.
Ms. Mayawati said Mr. Modi’s “mazdoor number one” catchphrase was similar to the previous Congress leadership’s attempts to mislead the people by claiming to be “mukhya sevak” or “jante ke sevak.” “In the name of the workers, both the parties have only helped the rich corporate, and the money-power acquired through these corporate was used to win elections and capture power,” she alleged.
In his speech at Ballia, Mr. Modi had lauded the hard work of labourers and said that if there was any cementing force that would unite the world today it was the sweat of the labourer. “Labourers unite the world,” Mr. Modi said.
The same day, Mr. Yadav launched a scheme in Lucknow, under which meals would be provided to labourers at four government construction sites at Rs. 10. Mr. Yadav even sat down with the labourers for a meal. “Will eating one meal with them fill the stomachs of crores of poor workers and improve their living conditions?” Ms. Mayawati asked.