Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday shared a stage for the first time in 25 years where they blasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Samajwadi Party founder declared that this will be his last electoral battle.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief, addressing her first public meeting after a 48-hour curb on her by the Election Commission, was at her aggressive best, praising Mulayam Singh Yadav "as a tall leader" and dubbing Modi as a "fake backward".
Addressing a public meeting in Mainpuri, Mulayam Singh Yadav's bastion, Mayawati thundered: "Mulayam Singh is not a fake backward like Modi.
"He (Mulayam) is a real backward as he was born in a backward community while Modi is a fake backward and everyone knows that during his tenure in Gujarat he made his forward community backward."
Burying a quarter century of political animosity, Mayawati appealed to the voters to ensure the victory of Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri with a record margin and accused the BJP of diverting the attention of the people from real issues.
"Now their (BJP) theatrics and rhetoric will no more work. Their new theatrics of chowkidari will also fail in this Lok Sabha election."
She insisted that the Bharatiya Janata Party had fared poorly in the first two rounds of the staggered Lok Sabha elections and vowed to oust the Modi government.
Targeting the Congress too, Mayawati called its NYAY scheme "a drama".
"Congress remained in power at the Centre for over 60 years but they did not work and they were thrown out. And now to get votes of the poor they are promising money to them. This will also not get them votes."
Mayawati referred to the June 1995 episode at a guest house in Lucknow that ruptured the BSP-SP alliance until Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav decided to shake hands ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
"Despite the episode, we are fighting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in an alliance... At times looking at the country's future one has to take difficult decisions in larger interest."
The BSP leader added: "We have come together to take on the communal forces."
Mulayam Singh Yadav earlier welcomed Mayawati and thanked her for supporting the Samajwadi Party.
"Today Mayawatiji has come and we welcome her. Always respected Mayawatiji because even in bad times she has always stood by our side. And I am happy that she has come in my support. I shall never forget this favour."
He said this will be his last election and so urged the people to help him win with a record margin.
Akhilesh Yadav, speaking for himself and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, accused Modi of fooling the electorate. He said Modi presented himself as a 'chaiwala' in the 2014 Lok Sabha battle and was now calling himself a 'chowkidar'.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)