Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday asked Congress to “introspect” before forming an alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party for the next month’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and said its strategy will “boomerang”.
The alliance talks between Congress and SP, however, were in a deadlock on Friday with two sides squabbling over the share of seats, two days after the grand old party declared the tie-up with the SP in the state a done deal.
The SP dealt a blow to the coalition talks when it came out with a list of candidates for 208 seats, including nine held by the Congress, voting for which will be held in the first three phases, beginning February 11.
The BSP chief’s appeal appeared to stem from her worry that the Congress-SP coalition might divide the Muslim vote, which experts say is one of the most coveted constituencies of UP politics in the state.
In this election, the BSP has given 97 tickets to Muslims and openly appealed to the community to vote for it. The BSP has fielded 51 Muslim candidates in western UP whereas arch-rival SP has given tickets to 44 of them. Both the parties are locked in a bitter fight for the Muslim votes in Rohilkhand area that has a large concentration of Muslim voters.
“The Congress is a secular political party whereas the SP government has exploited the common people and promoted communal politics. The SP is facing anti-incumbency as well. During the campaign, the Congress leaders might face tough questions from people if they go along with the SP,” she said at a press conference at the party’s state unit office in Lucknow.
Mayawati suggested that rather than allying with the ‘sinking ship’ of the SP, the Congress should contest assembly election on its own or form a coalition with smaller political parties.
“The Congress has exposed itself by surrendering before the SP before polls. The Congress is virtually on oxygen in UP. The khat sabha and yatras of Rahul Gandhi failed to make the desired impact on the masses. In Bihar, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar saved the Congress and here they are looking toward Akhilesh. Their strategy of forging an alliance with SP will boomerang,” she said.
She accused SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav of adopting “various tricks” to cover up the failures of the state government and to protect his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s image is tarnished due to lawlessness, murder, loot, land-grabbing and terror let loose by party leaders during five years of SP rule. He has protected the BJP leaders accused in Muzaffarnagar riots,” she said.
“The people are waiting for the polls to get rid of the SP government. The Congress will also face the people’s anger if it contests the election in alliance with the SP,” she said.
When pointed out that Congress leaders had approached her for a pre-poll alliance, Mayawati replied that the BSP has decided to contest the assembly election on its own and finalised candidates for 403 assembly seats.
Lashing out at the BJP, Mayawati said people angry with the Centre’s anti-people policies and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to fulfil the promises he made to the people during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
“The BJP has failed to project CM candidate in UP and this clearly shows that it is worried over the increasing anger among the people. The BJP is also promoting dynasty politics by giving tickets to the kith and kin of the senior leaders. The in-fighting in the party has increased as the election dates draw near,” she said.
“Demonetisation has broken the backbone of the BJP. The leaders of the saffron brigade are a dejected lot and unable to face the anger of the people,” she said.
Mayawati condemned RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya’s demand for a review of reservation, saying her party will not only provide good governance but also protect the rights of the Dalits, backwards and STs in the state.
“I appeal to the Dalit, backwards and scheduled tribe people to teach the BJP a lesson in the assembly election so that no leader in future dares to demand review or revoking of reservation granted by Dr BR Ambedkar. If the BJP forms the government in UP, it will withdraw benefits of reservation to the weaker section,” she said.