A day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused her of not allowing any scheduled caste leader in Uttar Pradesh, BSP chief Mayawati hit back by charging the Congress of adopting a “casteist and disdainful attitude” towards her party president Kanshi Ram.
“The Congress did not think it necessary to declare a national mourning on Kanshi Ram’s death. This is proof of the anti-Dalit attitude of the Congress. The people will never forgive the Congress for this”, Mayawati said in her address to party workers.
She was speaking at a function to mark the seventh death anniversary of Kanshi Ram.
Saying that Mayawati had prevented the rise of another SC leader, the Congress vice-president said the Dalit community needed an “escape velocity” of Jupiter – meaning that the community leaders needed to put in far greater efforts to rise up in the political field.
Gandhi had said that if the Dalit movement was to be taken forward, one or two leaders from the community were not enough. "Lakhs of Dalit leaders are needed. The leadership of the movement has been captured by Mayawati. She doesn't allow others to rise."
Congress leaders have claimed that Dalits were originally with the party but were weaned away by BSP in the wake of the Mandal-Mandir agitation. The party believes efforts should be made to bring them back to their "original home".