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Politics of Maya’s U-turn

delhi Updated: Apr 28, 2010 00:07 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
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Mayawati threw her weight behind the UPA on Tuesday, making her 21 MPs oppose the cut motions moved by the BJP and Left in the Lok Sabha.

However, coming just 13 days after a dramatic Rahul Gandhi-BSP confrontation on Ambedkar Jayanti around the legacy of the Dalit icon, this is being seen as the mother of U-turns on Mayawati's part.

Politically, the BSP chief is caught between two pressing concerns: she has to attack the Congress on the ground to hold on to her core Dalit vote, but faced with pending corruption cases, she would not want a hostile Centre.

"The two-pronged strategy of attacking the Congress but supporting the government when it comes to the crunch is likely to go on," said Allahabad-based Badri Narayan, an expert on the UP Dalit movement. "The BSP stands to lose from this paradox, but Mayawati is counting on her emotional appeal among Dalits."

Mayawati said this was to desist identifying with the BJP: "We are supporting the government since day one to keep the communal forces at bay. At the time of the formation of the UPA government, we gave unconditional outside support and that is there."

She added: "This is not a new situation. We will support the government on cut motion. In the name of cut motion, communal forces are trying to come back to power at the Centre."

A similar paradox had stared Mayawati in the face when she had pledged support to UPA II just after the Lok Sabha polls. For months before that, Mayawati had mounted acerbic attacks on the Congress and Rahul, dubbing the party as anti-Dalit.

In recent days, the fight had become crucial in UP, as many Muslims and even some Dalits had shifted to the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.

"While we may have to do some explaining on the Dalit front, the idea of not going with the BJP should appeal to Muslims," said a BSP leader.

When asked, Congress leaders said Mayawati's support was a political decision on her part.