Maya rebuffs Cong, praises Sonia and Rahul
Mayawati has rejected an alliance with the “arrogant” and “adamant” Congress for the year-end elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, accusing Digvijaya Singh of sabotage but acknowledging the “honest intentions” of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
The rebuff, which came close in the heels of a similar rejection in Chhattisgarh, dealt a fresh blow to an Opposition attempt at unity and spread cheer in the BJP. A combined Opposition in the heartland is the biggest threat the Narendra Modi dispensation could face as the country heads to the general election next year.
“They (the Congress) are getting arrogant. They feel they can take on the BJP on their own. The truth is that people are not ready to forgive them for their corrupt governance,” Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow, declaring that “under no circumstances” would she ally with the Congress in the Assembly polls in the two states.
She accused the Congress of agreeing to part with only a paltry number of seats.
The Congress clung to the kinder words Mayawati had for Rahul and Sonia to keep alive the hopes of wider Opposition unity in the general election.
“Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi have honest intentions for a Congress-BSP alliance, but there are some leaders who are sabotaging (such attempts),” Mayawati said.
Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said: “At times out of emotion, sweet and bitter things are said. But at last, if Mayawatiji holds absolute trust in Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, then other creases can be ironed out.”
The BJP rejoiced. “Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) in ‘progress’. First AAP n now BSP calling d bluff,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted.
Mayawati’s anger was focused on Congress veteran and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya. She called Digvijaya a “BJP agent” and an “RSS agent”.
“The Congress has a casteist mindset and some leaders don’t want an alliance. Leaders like Digvijaya Singh do not wish for a Congress-BSP alliance as they are afraid of agencies like the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and the CBI,” Mayawati said.
“Digvijaya Singh, who is also a BJP agent, is giving statements that Mayawati is facing a lot of pressure from the Centre, so she doesn’t want an alliance. This is baseless,” the Dalit leader said.
She claimed that the Congress had offered her only 15 to 20 of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh and five of the 90 seats in Chhattisgarh. She said the Congress had lost the opportunity to reap the benefits of an alliance with the BSP because of its “adamant” attitude.
Digvijaya later said: “The BSP supremo also declared candidates for 22 seats in Madhya Pradesh and said that her party will contest all 230 seats in the state. Now how am I responsible for sabotaging Congress-BSP alliance?”
Sources in the Uttar Pradesh Congress claimed that Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had reached a deal as part of which the BSP chief would focus on national politics while helping the Samajwadi Party leader become Uttar Pradesh chief minister in 2022.
Before Mayawati spoke on Wednesday, Akhilesh had told reporters in the morning that the Congress should have “a large heart to lead a grand alliance”.
“The Congress is a good party and it should take initiatives to forge a bigger alliance in all states and at the national level,” the Samajwadi chief said.