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Mayawati offers to send Assange to Agra asylum

Lucknow: Calling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ”mad”, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Tuesday rubbished US embassy cables leaked by the online whistleblower that said she had sent a special jet to Mumbai to bring her sandals.

“These reports are baselesss,” Mayawati told reporters here.
“The owner of Wikileaks should be sent to a mental asylum for what the kind of baseless allegations his organisation had been making against me,” Mayawati told reporters in a no holds barred press conference.

The cables that portray her as a dictator, she said, were a ploy by vested interests to malign her image and that of her party.

“They are playing into the hands of opposition parties,” she said.
Confidential US embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks project Mayawati as a dictator who had food tasters to sample her meals and “a security entourage to rival a head of state”.
A cable in October 2008 entitled “Mayawati: Portrait of a Lady” describes how she once dispatched a plane to fetch her favourite sandals from Mumbai.

“When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand,” the cable said.

Mayawati retorted in response: “As far as I am concerned, I do not know of any such thing. But if WikiLeaks and BJP leaders are making such a wild claim, then I would like to ask them, if they also flew down in that plane to get me those special sandals?”

Referring to the opposition reaction and a press conference by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mayawati said: “The smirk on the face of the BJP leader as also some other opposition leaders who were busy getting cheap thrills out of the Wikileaks cables shows that the opposition parties were in league with Wikileaks, obviously with the sole intent of tarnishing my image.”

She also hit out at WikiLeaks and opposition leaders for propagating that she had hired a whole team of cooks and food-tasters.

“It appears that some of these people are washing utensils in my kitchen, otherwise how else could they be cooking up such stories?” Mayawati asked with a smirk.

According to the US cables, state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and close aide Satish Chandra Misra also spoke against Mayawati.

She responded by saying: “Certain statements about me attributed by WikiLeaks to my two trusted men – Satish Chandra Misra and Shashank Shekhar Singh – were also evidently motivated with petty politics.

“As a befitting reply to all those who were behind this conspiracy, let me make it loud and clear that all this has only prompted me to give both of them greater importance in my scheme of things.”

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