The allegations of covert alliance with the BJP are just canards by political rivals, Uttar Pradesh’s four-time Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said today, placing Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party at the top pf that list.
“This is being said by those who oppose us, by our opponents, especially the Samajwadi Party,” Ms Mayawati has told NDTV days before the conclusion of the mammoth seven-phase election in Uttar Pradesh, before launching into stringent criticism of the party, which had removed her party from power in the 2012 state elections.
Asked about the impression that she is not vocal enough against the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister or the BJP, she said, “I never launch personal attacks on anyone, whether it is the Congress or the SP”.
Mayawati, who had partnered the BJP twice in the past, had fuelled speculation about being the BJP’s “B team” with a series of comments the Samajwadi Party and other rivals seized on.
Last month, her comment that she would ensure the defeat of the SP candidate in the MLC election even if it meant voting for the BJP, had brought the Samajwadi rejoinder that her claim was an open admission of her links with the ruling BJP.
Ahead of the elections, the mutual praise between Ms Mayawati and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had again set speculation. Asked to respond to Amit Shah’s positive assessment of her campaign in an interview, Ms Mayawati had said, “It is his badappan (magnanimity) that he has acknowledged the truth.”
Today, Ms Mayawati said she has “said so much” against the BJP.
“Is it not enough that I have spoken about how the bulldozer never works against non-Muslims and the mafia?” she added, referring to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s boast that his government has run bulldozers over properties of criminals and been tough on mafia.
While Ms Mayawai’s silence on the BJP had initially set off speculation, it was Samajwadi Party ally SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, who recently said that the BSP is contesting polls to divert votes and play into the hands of BJP.
The BSP candidates, he alleged, were decided at the behest of the BJP’s master strategist Amit Shah “in his room” and were only given the symbol in the BSP office.
Firmly dismissing any possibility of no party getting a clear majority, Ms Mayawati said, “I’m telling you, the BSP will get an absolute majority. You may ask me this question again once the results are out”.
The claim, however, has been called to question by the atypically low-key campaign of the BSP chief, who commands a large following among Dalits in the hugely caste-oriented elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Ms Mayawati, however, insisted that she has her “own way of doing things”.
“I do not imitate other parties. I don’t do road shows, nor door-to-door canvassing in smaller neighbourhoods… Kanshi Ram ji taught us how to follow a cadre system. So, we don’t need to imitate what others do,” she added, claiming that it is the “other parties” who now copy her.
The BSP chief said she has taken only two days off in the past year. “I have connected with our party workers on the ground, and this time I have selected candidates with the larger community in mind… I have conducted multiple smaller meetings through the year”.