Angry Maya snaps ties with ‘arrogant’ Cong

Angry Maya snaps ties with ‘arrogant’ Cong


Dropping a bombshell on Opposition’s unity plans ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday announced to contest Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan minus the Congress, which she accused of “backstabbing” her and trying to “destroy” Opposition allies.

The BJP was quick to latch on to the development. Party national general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted, “Mahagatabandhan in ‘progress’. First AAP n now BSP calling d bluff. Mayawati says Congress arrogant, a new revelation for her, n declares no alliance in MP n Rajasthan too (sic).”

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, flagged the “concern and pain of Mayawatiji” and said they show coalition is not in Congress DNA.

The Congress argued Mayawati has not attacked Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and that if the three leaders trust each other “creases, if any, in the cloth can be ironed out”.

However, the intensity of Mayawati’s attack indicates that her anger is directed much beyond Congress leader Digvijay Singh whom she dubbed an “agent of RSS” who does not want a Congress-BSP tie-up. Her remarks come days after Singh said that Mayawati is acting under CBI pressure.

“The truth is that Congress has used Dalits to rule the country. But it has a casteist and communal mindset; it has never done anything for the community,” she said in remarks that come at a time when the Congress is trying to capitalise on Dalit anger against the BJP, projecting it as an alternative, a move which also seems to have unnerved the BSP.

“The Congress has tried to backstab the BSP,” she said, recalling the Taj Corridor case in which she was made an accused and had to make rounds of the court for years before the Supreme Court finally exonerated her.

“First the BJP government implicated me falsely. Then the Congress government at the Centre kept it hanging for a long time to suit their political interests,” she said. Her arguments sort of give some credence to the grapevine that the UPA government used to pressure her into supporting it in past by misusing central agencies, an allegation then repeatedly leveled by the BJP.

“The Congress party’s agenda is not to defeat BJP but destroy Opposition parties and allies. Congress wanted to finish the BSP in the name of alliance. Before attempting for any kind of alliance with BSP, the leaders of Congress should understand that BSP is a party that has emerged after struggle and hardship and will not become a puppet in anyone’s hand in order to defeat BJP. We will not allow the BSP to become a puppet,” she said.

After seeking 50 seats in Madhya Pradesh, BSP recently unilaterally announced to contest 22 seats in the state.

The BSP chief, who had already tied up with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Congress Chhattisgarh in the tribal state, Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana and H D Deve Gowda's Janta Dal Secular (JDS) in Karnataka, also dropped indications that she is of the view that a tie-up with regional parties is more beneficial for BJP than that with Congress.

“In Karnataka we tied up with regional party. In Chhattisgarh too, we did the same. Now we have decided to go iy alone in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. We may go with regional parties there but certainly not with the Congress," she read out from a statement.

She said that though the Congress has been punished for its mistakes and corruption in last Lok Sabha polls, people are still not ready to forgive it.

"The Congress, despite tasting defeat in straight contests with BJP, continues to display arrogance... instead of forming joint opposition front to defeat the BJP, it wants to fight the saffron party alone... it will only benefit the BJP,'' the BSP supremo said.

Mayawati’s remarks come a week after she suddenly announced her ties with Ajit Jogi. Beyond UP, Mayawati’s party has very little footprint and cannot win many seats but could play a spoilsport for Congress, which has some inroads among dalits.

The Assembly elections are a precursor to the bigger electoral game-plan that will unveil in 2019. By firming up alliances with regional parties led by strong regional satraps in different states, the BSP chief also appears preparing herself for the Prime Ministerial plunge or at least put the BSP in neutral gear.

It is a setback to the Congress, which was nursing high hopes on a tie-up with her, especially in poll-bound MP and Chhattisgarh. The image of Congress President Sonia Gandhi hugging her in May this year in Karnataka on the dais during the swearing-in of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had triggered speculation of a possible Congress-BSP tie up at national level.

Much to the chagrin of Congress, this is not the first time that the BSP has in recent times, shown inclination to maintain equidistance from both Congress and BJP.

While she kept away from the September 10 Bharat Bandh called by opposition parties, saying her party “did not participate in Congress-sponsored bandh”, Mayawati also held both Congress and BSP responsible for the rise in petrol prices, calling them two sides of the same coin. On Wednesday also, she said that neither the Congress nor the BJP worked for the underprivileged, the reason why BSP was formed.