Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday launched a blistering attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for not acting against Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi for her derogatory comments against her.
“It is unpardonable,” Mayawati said addressing reporters.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief also sought to distance her party from the arson unleashed by unidentified men at Joshi’s residence on Wednesday night. She said the attack was unfortunate and BSP men were not involved. Mayawati said the BSP was of the opinion that Congress workers themselves were behind the vandalism. She said a case had been registered and an “impartial probe would be done”.
The issue has snowballed into a major political controversy that threatens to worsen the relationship between the two parties. After Joshi’s arrest, Mayawati held Sonia directly responsible for the comments.
“No action against Rita Bahuguna by the Congress. This indicates it was at the instigation of Sonia Gandhi,” Mayawati said. “In the past, Rita Bahuguna had abused the Nehru-Gandhi family in her book HN Bahuguna.”
“Sonia Gandhi ignored her comments because of vested interest,” she added.
At the root of the politics of slander between the BSP and Congress is a fight for the Dalit vote. While the BSP has been trying desperately to retain its base among Dalits, the Cong-ress has launched determined efforts to make a dent into it.
Joshi, too, was addressing workers in Moradabad where Dalits had assembled in large numbers, when she made the alleged comments.
Mayawati claimed she had asked her cadre not to agitate.