Lucknow (UP): When several BJP leaders shifted allegiance to the Samajwadi Party (SP) saying it works for Dalits and backward classes, BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday mocked the claim that the party’s The previous record reflects his “anti-Dalit” approach.
Mayawati also made it clear that if her party comes to power, she will not contest the assembly elections, but will take the Legislative Council route.
Addressing a press conference on his birthday, he announced the names of 53 BSP candidates for constituencies where polling will be held in the first phase on February 10.
“The past record of the SP shows that it has always taken an anti-Dalit stand,” Mayawati said.
He sought to know why the Akhilesh Yadav-led party changed the name of Sant Ravidas Nagar to Bhadohi soon after assuming power in 2012.
“Was it not because of his anti-Dalit thinking,” he asked.
Citing another example, he alleged that the SP has torn up a bill introduced to ensure promotion of Dalits in government services.
“The bill is pending… doesn’t it reflect its anti-Dalit stand?” he said.
The BSP chief’s remarks came a day after former cabinet minister and prominent OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya joined the SP along with another rebel minister Dharam Singh Saini.
A large number of MLAs from the BJP and Apna Dal (Sonelal) also joined the SP and alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government has neglected the interests of Dalits and backward classes.
He made similar allegations against Mayawati.
With many such defections, including a large number of legislators from her own party, Mayawati insisted on strengthening the anti-defection laws.
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, 13 of the 19 MLAs who won on BSP tickets have left the party.
“Given how some greedy politicians switch parties during elections, it is necessary to strengthen anti-defection laws as such practices adversely affect democracy,” he said.
On her possible candidature, Mayawati said, “An impression is being made that I am not going to contest.”
“I have been a four-time Lok Sabha MP, three-time Rajya Sabha MP and MLA and MLC on two occasions. As long as BSP founder Kanshi Ram was fit, he handled all electoral affairs and I used to contest elections. The responsibility fell on me.”
Mayawati was the MLC when she headed the BSP government in the state in 2007.
Laughing at the remarks that her party was thrown out of the race, Mayawati said the BSP would create a surprise like in 2007.
Mayawati continued her campaign against the SP regime from 2012-17, saying that she benefited from Muslim votes, but denied the community adequate representation in government as well as in the distribution of tickets.
He also alleged that communal riots were regular during the SP rule.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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