Lucknow, March 13: Mayavati today dealt Sonia Gandhi the sledgehammer blow she had been dreading, refusing to play ball with her and declaring that the Bahujan Samaj Party would go it alone in Uttar Pradesh.
Ripping the veil off her intentions at a much-touted parda faash rally, the BSP chief said there was no question of aligning with an opportunistic party that had its feet on two different political stools.
“The Congress is trying to sail on two boats at the same time in the political crosscurrents. On the one hand, it is supporting the Samajwadi Party-led government in Uttar Pradesh. On the other, it is trying to strike up an alliance with the BSP at the Centre.”
The Congress eventually fell between both stools, with Mulayam Singh Yadav taunting and daring it to go ahead and pull out of his government.
Yesterday, senior leader Arjun Singh had hinted the Congress might take such a step.
“I would request Arjun Singhji to withdraw support immediately. We are not running the government in Uttar Pradesh on the mercy of the Congress,” the chief minister said.
The Samajwadi, too, came in for much fire as a fiery Mayavati gave the one-lakh crowd at Ambedkar Maidan — awash in the blue of the BSP flag and with cutouts of B.R. Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram towering above her — her reasons for dumping the Congress.
“This is the same Samajwadi Party which refused to give a certificate to the President to allow the Congress to come to power at the Centre. This is the same Samajwadi Party which planned an attack to end my life on June 2, 1995. This is the same Samajwadi Party which has sought the help of the BJP to stay in power,” she said.
The BSP chief said she had initially accepted the Congress’ talks offer because she wanted to stall the relentless march of the NDA. But she had soon sensed the insincerity of the Congress, which insisted on continuing to back Mulayam Singh even as it sought to tie up with her.
“The talks could not make much headway and had to be nipped in the bud.”
Much of Mayavati’s speech was devoted to badmouthing the Congress.
“The party ruled for 45 years and had it fulfilled even one per cent of the constitutional provisions for the Dalits, it would have accomplished 45 per cent of the promises by now.”
Mayavati did not spare the BJP either, even challenging it to put her behind bars. “The BJP is trying to frame me in a false case (Taj corridor) and send me to jail. But I am not intimidated. Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years. Even if I have to stay longer, I would work for the interest of the Bahujan Samaj from jail,” she declared.
All along, she peppered her speech with references to former BSP chief Kanshi Ram, battling for life in a Delhi hospital. Playing on the sentiment of the crowd, she said he continued to be the target of opposition parties.
“He is one who cannot recognise people, cannot even move to a toilet and he gave his life for you.”