Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to drive a wedge between Samajwadi Party (SP) Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was met with BSP chief Mayawati’s retort his “divide and rule” politics will fail, the BJP on Tuesday attacked her with more intent.
With 13 seats in eastern Uttar Pradesh set to poll in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections this Sunday and ground reports suggesting that BJP faces a vigorous caste alliance of SP and BSP on the ground, Mayawati also hit back at the PM.
Addressing a public rally in UP’s Ballia, Modi said the SP and BSP will again be at each other's throats the moment results are out. “I have been the chief minister of Gujarat for more than the terms of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav combined (as Uttar Pradesh chief minister). I have contested elections and made others contest, but never took the help of my caste (to garner votes),” Modi said.
At a press conference in Lucknow, Mayawati said, “The country has already seen a number of leaders in the form of sevak (servant), mukhya sevak (chief servant), chaiwala (tea vendor) and chowkidaar (watchman), who indulge in misleading the people. The country now needs a pure prime minister who can run the country in accordance with welfare spirit of the Constitution.”
Mayawati has made little secret of her ambition to be the prime minister. SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav has announced his party’s support, if the situation arises, for Mayawati’s candidature.
Mayawati said the “boat” of Modi was sinking. She said everyone knew this and the biggest evidence of this was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) deserting him. “I cannot spot them (RSS workers) anywhere in the election doing hard work (for the BJP) with their ‘jholaa’ (bags), thanks to the non-fulfilment of promises and the intense resentment of the people. As a result, Modi is sweating.”
In New Delhi, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday demanded resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the “delay” in initiation of action in the Alwar gang-rape case. On April 26, a woman travelling with her husband on a motorcycle was raped after they beat up her husband. The husband alleged the police delayed filing the FIR as it was busy with the elections.
Javadekar said the BSP chief supports the Congress government in Rajasthan and she remained “quiet” on atrocities against people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The BSP did not withdraw support to the Congress government in the state and now people of the country will punish her in the polls, he said.
Addressing a rally in Ballia, Mayawati said, “From May 23, the bad days of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will start. Preparations will also start for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s return to Gorakhpur mutt.” SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was also present at the rally.
“A change will be brought in the politics. Even the foundation of the BJP will not be visible because of the alliance storm that is sweeping the state,” Yadav said. “The josh (energy) is absent in BJP rallies… Perhaps those who raised the slogans have gone in search of good days.”
In UP, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar’s difficult relationship with the BJP and SP-BSP alliance continued. The disgruntled BJP ally said SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP’s Mayawati did not know the number of backwards and Dalits in the state. “They claim to be leaders of these two sections of society, but they don’t know much about them,” Rajbhar, still a minister in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet, said.