'Cong diffident to field Muslims due to BJP fear'

'Cong diffident to field Muslims due to BJP fear'

BSP supremo Mayawati. File photo

Conscious of the potential of a Dalit-Muslim combination backed by OBCs, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati was on Wednesday unsparing of BJP even as she jolted the Opposition by announcing that she will not contest elections in alliance with Congress at any cost.

The BSP chief, who is firming up an alliance with Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, is aware of the potential dent in Muslim vote base if Congress contested separately.

Hence, she also flagged the diffidence in Congress on Muslim issue at a time when Rahul Gandhi’s temple trips and soft Hindutva politics is making the news.

She said, while “Congress may be afraid of fielding candidates from Muslim community due to its fear of BJP,” the BSP has no such fears irrespective of the outcome.

BSP had fielded 97 Muslim candidates in 2017 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, including in Faizabad, the seat of Ram temple movement, which she said, “no other party can do”.

“This is what gives us a different face from other Opposition parties. BSP cannot compromise on the interests of Muslims, other minorities, Dalits, backward classes and tribals,” she said.

RLD’s Muslim candidate from Kairana, Tabassum Hassan, backed by SP, BSP and Congress had won Lok Sabha by-poll from the BJP stronghold early this year, in which Dalits, Muslims, jats and OBCs had voted together.

In her six-page statement, Mayawati targeted Congress for its attitude towards Dalits, OBCs and its treatment of Baba Saheb Ambedkar as well as her. At the same time, she made great efforts to show that her action is not aimed at benefiting the BJP even as the latter has expressed its glee openly after her remarks.

Blames Congress

She kept Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi out of the ambit of her attack but blamed the “arrogance” of the party for BSP charting out a different course of the alliance in different states. She called the BJP government “arrogant, casteist and autocratic” and put the blame on Congress for allowing BJP to come to power in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for long.

While Congress had been maintaining the BSP wanted 50 seats in MP and large number of assembly seats in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Mayawati spelt out her demand as “15-20 seats in MP, 09-10 seats in Rajasthan and 05-06 seats in Chhattisgarh.” Clearly, the BSP chief does not want to take the blame for the break up of Mahagathbandhan when both her key constituencies - Dalits and Muslims - seem to be turning against the BJP.