Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Thursday hit out at the Congress saying it is no different from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its approach towards minorities. She condemned booking Muslim men under the National Security Act (NSA) in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and imposing sedition laws on university students in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the BJP.
Taking to Twitter, Mayawati said, “The Congress government in MP, like the BJP, slapped atrocious NSA against Muslims for cow slaughter. Now, the UP’s BJP government booked 14 AMU students under notorious sedition charges. Both are example of state terror and condemnable. People should decide what is difference between the Congress and the BJP governments?”
On Tuesday night, 14 students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students were booked for sedition in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly raising anti-national slogans. Earlier this month, three Muslim men were jailed under the NSA for allegedly killing a cow in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa.
Mayawati’s attack on the Congress has follows what is being seen as an outreach by her new ally, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who recently said that his party is in alliance not only with the BSP but also with the Congress. This is in contrast to the stated position of Mayawati.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati announced the SP-BSP tie-up for the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh last month. The two parties agreed to contest 38 Lok Sabha seats each in the state while maintaining that they would not put up candidates at Amethi and Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituencies represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The SP president’s outreach followed appointment of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East. Her appointment is being seen by many in the party as a game changer move ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Some reports also suggest that Priyanka Gandhi is open to reciprocating Akhilesh Yadav’s outreach to the Congress party provided the SP-BSP alliance agrees to offer the party more seats. The Congress, as set out by party president Rahul Gandhi, is working on the task of reviving its organisation in the political crucial state.
Priyanka Gandhi had played a key role in 2017, when the SP and the Congress joined hands to contest UP assembly elections against the BJP. The tie-up did not yield favourable results in the polls as the BJP won a huge majority in UP. The alliance, subsequently, fell apart.
In the Lok Sabha bypolls last year, the SP joined hands with the BSP and handed over an embarrassing defeat to the ruling BJP, which failed to save the Gorakhpur parliamentary seat, then represented by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Akhilesh Yadav has been open to have a truck with the Congress at both the state and the national level. However, Mayawati has been critical of the Congress. Even at the time of announcement of alliance with the SP, Mayawati had said that there was “no difference between the BJP and the Congress” for her.
First Published: Feb 14, 2019 14:05 IST