Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati had turned an offer of a pre-poll alliance by the Congress ahead of the just-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
This was revealed by none other than former Congress president Rahul Gandhi himself.
In his keynote address at the launch of his aide K Raju’s book, The Dalit Truth, Gandhi also said he is not in pursuit of power despite being in the centre of politics.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power in the recently-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh while the BSP was virtually missing in action, winning just one seat. The Congress managed to bag two seats.
“आपने देखा होगा मायावती जी ने चुनाव ही नहीं लड़ा। हमने मायावती जी को मैसेज दिया, अलायंस करिए, चीफ मिनिस्टर बनिए, बात तक नहीं की। जिन लोगों ने, कांशी राम जी ने, रिस्पेक्ट करता हूं मैं, खून पसीना देकर दलित आवाज जो थी उत्तर प्रदेश की, उसको जगाया। कांग्रेस का नुकसान हुआ, वो अलग बात है, मगर उस आवाज को जगाया। आज मायावती जी कहती हैं कि मैं उस आवाज के लिए लडूंगी नहीं। खुला रास्ता दे दिया। क्यों – सीबीआई, ईडी, पेगासस।
“You must have seen Mayawati ji didn’t fight elections. We had sent her the message to form an alliance and become the chief minister. But she didn’t respond, didn’t even talk,” he said.
“Those who had given their sweat and blood and raised the Dalit voice in Uttar Pradesh such as Kanshi Ramji. I respect him though the Congress had suffered politically that time. This time Mayawati didn’t fight for Dalit voices because there are CBI, ED (Enforcement Directorate) and Pegasus,” Gandhi said.
Mayawati and the Congress share a love-hate relationship. The relations soured after a warm and affectionate hug between Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati at the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in May 2018.
Not only did the BSP chief field her candidates in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh during the assembly elections in 2018 despite the Congress pushing for a tie-up, she also ensured that the grand old party did not become part of a broad-based alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls after joining hands with arch-rival Samajwadi Party (SP).
Ahead of the UP assembly polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra called her an “undeclared BJP spokesperson”.
Mayawati had backed the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre on various issues, including the border standoff with China in Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh.
However, she had been so far soft on both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, saying their intentions for a Congress-BSP alliance were honest.
It remains to be seen if Mayawati will continue to do so after Rahul Gandhi’s latest remarks.