Low-Key Birthday For Mayawati, New Ally Akhilesh Yadav May Visit Her

Low-Key Birthday For Mayawati, New Ally Akhilesh Yadav May Visit Her

LUCKNOW: As Uttar Pradesh powerhouse Mayawati celebrates her 63rd birthday on Tuesday in state capital Lucknow, one of her visitors is likely to be former rival Akhilesh Yadav, who has stitched up a slightly unusual alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief for the national election due by May, after years of acrimony between their parties. The alliance was announced on Saturday by both leaders at a five-star hotel in Lucknow.

There were reports earlier that the grand "gathbandhan" announcement would headline her birthday, but that didn't happen, so this year too, it will be a low-key celebration like in recent years.

An invite sent out by the BSP on behalf of Mayawati lists the usual celebrations at 12 Mall Avenue, the BSP's office just a stone's throw from her sprawling home on the same road.

Party sources say the celebrations are likely to be austere by Mayawati's standards. Like every year, Mayawati will release what her party officially calls the 'Blue Book'. Mayawati calls it "A Travelogue of My Struggle-ridden Life and the BSP Movement". This will be the 14th volume of the book, which is reportedly priced at Rs. 2,500 and is sold in one bookshop.

Mayawati will also address a press conference, another birthday ritual.

Party men recall Mayawati's legendary birthday celebrations many years ago, with unfettered extravagance displayed in a movie-set style stage, tonnes of laddoos and cash gifts. Mayawati, laden with diamonds, cut a giant cake -- usually in her favourite pink -- but this hasn't been happening for a few years now. BSP workers across the state do cut cakes in Mayawati's honour.