Is the honeymoon between United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati coming to an end? The question was doing rounds here after Mayawati chose to train her guns for the first time on both the Congress as well as the UPA.
"The Congress party and UPA should not take our support for granted," the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief thundered at two election rallies in the state over the weekend.
By-elections to three state assembly seats are going to be held Aug 31.
Mayawati appeared to have struck a rapport with Gandhi no sooner than she rode to power three months ago. She was famously hosted to tea by Gandhi at her home. Her support for the ruling coalition in New Delhi, especially for the Congress' presidential nominee Pratibha Patil and vice presidential candidate Mohammad Hamid Ansari, was seen as an obvious quid pro quo for a "clean chit" the chief minister got from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over her alleged involvement in a land scam in Agra near the Taj Mahal during her previous regime.
However, the tide seems to be turning now.
"BSP has already managed to come to power in the country's most populous state. Very soon you will see the party establishing itself in a big way in several other states and the day is not far when we will take over Delhi," she said at an election rally.
"It will then be too late for the Congress to realise its mistake of ignoring us," she warned.
She was referring to her demand for a special development package of Rs.800 billion she has sought from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the vast, backward areas of Purvanchal, or eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Bundelkhand in southern Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati told voters in Swar-Tanda in Rampur district and Farrukhabad over the weekend: "I had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a special economic package for the backward regions of Purvanchal and Bundelkhand, but sadly he has not cared to even send a reply so far."
She also criticised the central government for not considering her demand to introduce reservations for weaker sections of society for jobs in the private sector.
Flaying the Congress, whose candidate was a major threat to the BSP in the Farukkhabad by-election, she said: "Apparently, the Congress party is bothered only about the interest of corporate houses and not the poor and the downtrodden.
Holding the Congress and other parties responsible for the economic backwardness of the state, she said: "After all it was the Congress that ruled the state for 40 years and it were other parties like BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Samajawadi Party which had their governments for other long stints here.
"Sure enough their respective leaders were either playing vote politics or were busy in the aggrandisement of their parties; no one cared about the state's development."
She added, "This is the first time that we have formed a government entirely on our own and from day one our emphasis has been on improvement of law and order, which is now to