Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati has decided not to celebrate her birthday due to the ongoing pandemic.
Taking to Twitter, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister announced “party workers should, in view of the pandemic, maintain all precautions and with complete simplicity help those affected [by COVID-19] and help the very poor and destitute as per their ability and celebrate it as Jankalyankari Diwas (people’s welfare day)”.
Mayawati turned 65 on Friday.
In November 2020, her father passed away; this could also be a reason for lying low.
Mayawati’s birthday celebrations in the past have been lavish affairs with party workers celebrating it across districts and states with large cakes. In 2019, as party workers in Amroha district made a beeline for a huge pyramid-shaped cake, it toppled over, but this did not stop them from grabbing pieces of it even in that state!
Mayawati’s birthday has also been an occasion for lavish gifts—that she insists are for the party’s funds. She has appeared on these special occasions dripping in diamonds and silk suits—displays she has often justified for the aspirational value they hold for her core support base.
Her 47th birthday celebrations (when she was chief minister of the state) had become a sour point, with the Samajwadi Party, which had accused her of having coupons specially printed to blatantly demand money from her ministers, legislators, MPs and government officials in the garb of ‘birthday gifts’ for herself. Then SP president, Mulayam Singh Yadav, had alleged that she had collected thousands of crores of rupees for herself by misuse of political machinery and demanded that a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry be launched against her.
This birthday is, however, vastly different with Behenji, as she is known, telling her followers that a book about her struggles and the journey of the BSP—the 16th volume of the series—shall be released. The English version of the book, A Travelogue of My Struggle-Ridden Life and BSP Movement will also be launched. She has told her followers to read it as it will help greatly “the movement for self-respect”.