Mayawati likens Congress to BJP
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati on Thursday opened a front against the Congress by likening it to the BJP, revealing the churn within her outfit over the Grand Old Party’s bid to regain some of the space it once occupied in Uttar Pradesh.
“Congress govt in MP like BJP slapped atrocious NSA (National Security Act) against Muslims for cow slaughter. Now the UP BJP govt booked 14 AMU students under notorious sedition charges. Both are example of state terror & condemnable. People should decide what is difference between the cong & BJP govt?’’ Mayawati tweeted.
Mayawati’s attack on the Congress is being seen as a bid to keep the Muslim vote from drifting away from the alliance the BSP has firmed up with one-time rival Samajwadi Party to a seemingly energised Congress.
While the BSP-SP caste coalition is something the two parties are certain about, there is apprehension that the Muslim vote may shift in places where the Congress is seen as a viable option.
The Opposition camp also sees Mayawati’s tweet as a sign of anxiety within the BSP after the arrival of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati in her tweet linked two incidents separated by time and space. The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh had invoked the NSA against cattle smugglers last week.
In BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, 14 Aligarh Muslim University students were booked under sedition charges after a complaint of assault amid pro-Pakistan chants, officials had said on Wednesday.
The tweet comes at a time various parties in the Opposition have decided to work on a common agenda for the upcoming parliamentary elections and explore possibilities of a pre-poll alliance wherever feasible.
The Opposition camp is clearly apprehensive that the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo would move heaven and earth to retain power even if they do not have the necessary numbers. So, one opinion among these parties is that all boxes should be checked to ensure an invite from the President to try and form the government if the numbers add up.
In this, the Opposition seems to be borrowing a leaf from the BJP’s playbook in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya where instead of inviting the single largest party, the respective governors invited coalitions headed by the BJP.
Also, there is a view that a pre-poll alliance on a common agenda would somewhat address the spectre of confusion and instability that the BJP is trying to project if a coalition is voted in, although the ruling party itself heads one and is in search of allies.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday stressed the need for a pre-poll tie-up. “We must go for a pre-poll alliance so that after elections we can claim to form the government,” the Trinamul leader told mediapersons at an informal interaction at the Press Club of India.
Mamata said that parties would have their separate strategies at the local level, with a general understanding of working together against the BJP at the Centre.
About the Left in this scenario, she said the CPM was not at the meeting of Opposition leaders at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence on Wednesday night. Besides Trinamul and the NCP, the parties present were the Congress, National Conference, Telugu Desam Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.
“The RJD and the DMK already have an alliance at the state level with the Congress. Those parties that cannot be part of the pre-poll alliance because of state-level political compulsions can always join later. We respect their political compulsions,” Mamata said. None of the other party leaders who were present at Pawar’s residence has said anything about a pre-election tie-up so openly.
Earlier in the day, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Congress had “almost said no” to any form of understanding in the state, where a three-cornered fight could help the BJP. “Arvind wants an alliance with the Congress,” Mamata said. “The Congress has to decide now.”