Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Maywati has come under severe criticism from opposition leaders for having made derogatory remarks about Mahatma Gandhi.
While addressing a meeting of MPs and legislators of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday, Mayawati called the Father of the Nation a "natakbaaz" (fake). She also distributed pamphlets condemning both Mahatma Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for being insincere about the improvement in socio-economic status of Dalits.
"Mayawati's attempt to run down the Father of the Nation will only prove counter-productive and she will have to pay for it," said state Congress spokesman Subodh Srivastava.
"This only reflects her frustration on account of her failure to keep her monopolistic control over Dalits. It is high time she realises that Dalits are not her private property and they are well aware to see and understand the difference between what Mahatma Gandhi did for them and what Mayawati was doing for them," he added.
Samajwadi Party state president Akhilesh Yadav said: "Mayawati's derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi are clearly a reflection of her having not only lost ground but even her balance."
Calling Mayawati's rant against Mahatma Gandhi "a shameful act", BJP spokesman Hriday Narain Dikshit said: "By terming whatever he did against untouchability as a drama, Mayawati has shown utter disrespect to the Father of the Nation."
Srivastava also condemned Mayawati's move to hold protest demonstrations June 19, which is Rahul Gandhi's birthday.
"Maybe she does not like the idea of a birthday being observed without forced collection of funds since she is so used to celebrating her own birthday solely to collect money and jewellery," he said.