A day after Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Mayawati, the BSP supremo hit back, rejecting claims that the Congress had offered her the post of Chief Minister in an alliance. The former UP CM also hit out at the Grand Old Party, saying it had ‘never stood with Dalits’.
“I have come to know through the media about the remarks made by Rahul Gandhi yesterday on the BSP. This statement reflects his casteist mindset. Congress never took any steps to improve the economic and social conditions of Dalits. Even the full benefit of reservation to Dalits was not given,” she said in a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday.
“Rahul Gandhi himself is plagued with a casteist mentality and he is blaming me. He is lying, I did not get any offer and the Congress has never stood with Dalits,” she said.
Gandhi had on Saturday claimed the party had extended an offer to the BSP for an alliance ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, even offering her the CM post in case of a joint win. “However, we never received any replies,” Gandhi had said an event.
Now, rejecting the claims, Mayawati further accused the Congress of ‘always trying to malign and weaken the BSP. “Rahul can’t set his own house in order,” she said, commenting on the party’s performance in assembly polls held in five states recently.
Commenting on Rahul’s jibe that she was afraid of the ‘CBI, ED and Pegasus’, Mayawati said even Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister and the late father of Rahul Gandhi, had attempted to defame the BSP.
“Even Rajiv Gandhi had described Kanshi Ram as a CIA agent. Rahul Gandhi is making baseless allegations against me. They say she is afraid of CBI and ED. There is not even an iota of truth in the statement made by Rahul Gandhi about any proposal making me the Chief Minister. Rahul Gandhi should think 100 times before making any comment on BSP,” she said.
Further attacking the Congress party, Mayawati said the attitude of the Congress in fighting the battle against the BJP had been lax. “The BJP and its people want to run an opposition-less government by all means. In 2007, when the BSP had a full majority government, the Congress government was at the centre. To worsen the condition of the state, we were not even given force from the centre in the Ayodhya case. Congress wanted the President’s rule to be imposed by deliberately worsening the situation in the state,” she said.
“Rahul Gandhi should take a look at his house before commenting on BSP. BJP has taken advantage of this. BSP could not perform well in these elections, we have given a statement in the media on this also. BSP has its own way of working. Rahul Gandhi himself hugs the Prime Minister in Parliament,” she said.
Both BSP and Congress were reduced to dismal shows in Uttar Pradesh in the elections, with one and two seats to their names, respectively.
Political commentators had claimed that Rahul’s comments came in light of the Congress wanting to recreate its lost voter base of Dalit-Muslims-Brahmins earlier seen in the 80s. The opportunity, they said, came in light of Mayawati’s worst performance in the state so far, of which she has held the top post of, four times.
“Mayawati ji didn’t fight elections, we sent her a message to form an alliance but she didn’t respond. Kanshi Ram Ji raised voice of Dalits in UP, though it affected Congress. This time she didn’t fight for Dalit voices because there are CBI, ED and Pegasus,” Rahul had said at the event on Saturday.
Mayawati had blamed the BJP for ‘maligning’ its image in the minds of Muslim voters as part of the reason behind her defeat earlier. However, political experts had said it was the failure of Mayawati’s votebank algorithms and a deviation from the BSP’s original ideologies that may have contributed to the party’s disappointing score.
With inputs from Qazi Faraz Ahmad in Lucknow