Upping the ante against her opponents ahead of the UP polls, Mayawati made a strong pitch to consolidate Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh at her Lucknow rally on Sunday, held to mark the 10th death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshiram.
Lashing out at her opponents, BSP chief Mayawati urged Muslims in Uttar Pradesh not to vote for the Congress or Samajwadi Party in the coming assembly election as it will only benefit the BJP.
In an attempt to target BJP, her political rival whose core vote-bank remains rooted in the upper caste Hindu votes, Mayawati asked the Muslim voters to judiciously use their votes and support BSP, telling the community that "dividing your (Muslim) votes will help the BJP."
Alleging that minorities were facing bias under the Narendra Modi government, BSP chief Mayawati cautioned Muslims that voting for Samajwadi Party or Congress will only help BJP and sought their support "to stop" the saffron party.
Muslims should not waste their vote as there is infighting in Samajwadi Party and Congress lacks a voter base in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati told a huge gathering at her Lucknow rally. Taking a swipe at the BJP, Mayawati also recalled the Ghar Vapasi (Hindu right-wing groups' alleged 're-conversion' drive to bring back 'converted Hindus' to the folds of Hinduism) and Gau Raksha (cow protection) controversies that in all likelihood stir anti-BJP sentiments in the Muslim community.
"Ever since the BJP government has come at the Centre, Muslims and other minorities are being subjected to bias. The minority status of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia is being snatched away. Communal forces are becoming stronger and Muslims are being targeted in the name of love jihad, gau raksha," the BSP supremo alleged launching a scathing attack on the Modi government.
That Mayawati, who is recognised as a prominent Dalit face in the national politics and is a four-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has long since tried to consolidate the magical (Dalit + Muslim) vote equation to counter BJP's traditional upper caste Hindu vote bank is no secret.
Crushed in the 2012 Assembly elections and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mayawati and her BSP were not being looked upon as a force to reckon with, in the upcoming state elections. But a few well-placed controversies, and Samajwadi Party's internal strife seems to have put Mayawati back in the race. The BJP didn't help it's case either when a former party leader, Dayashankar Singh, made derogatory remarks against BSP supremo, prompting protests against him. As an increasing number of cases of atrocities against Dalits and Muslims hit headlines, it further squanders BJP's chances to win-over either of the two communities to its side.
Muslims, who are traditionally non-BJP voters get divided among Congress, BSP and SP depending on their political allegiance and the local candidates fielded by the respective parties. The backwards are largely seen as SP supporters while Dalits usually rally behind Mayawati. In the math of seats and constituencies, if Mayawati indeed succeeds to garner support of both Dalits, a sizeable community and Muslims, India's largest minority, it may well pave her way to five Kalidas Marg, yet again.
Reading the situation, Mayawati was also quick to dispel rumours that she might consider a post-poll alliance with the BJP. Trying hard to woo Muslim she cautioned the people against any canard that BSP might enter into an understanding for forming as government with the BJP in case it fell short of majority. She said there was no truth in these rumours which were being spread to divide Muslim votes and asserted that such a situation will not arise.
She said backward and upper caste votes have not voted en-mass for any one section but this time round that may not be the case.
In the first phase of the political blitzkrieg ahead of the polls in India's most populous state, Mayawati also rounded up on the ruling Samajwadi Party, which unlike BJP has a considerable base among Muslims. Coming down heavily on the ruling SP, Mayawati said because of "rampant crime and anarchy" incidents such as Muzaffarnagar, Dadri, Mathura and Bulandshahr have occurred and promised to restore rule of law in Uttar Pradesh.
"There is a tussle for supremacy going on in the SP between Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Akhilesh Yadav and brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and its result will be that the Yadav vote will split as each will try to ensure the defeat of candidates owing allegiance to the other," Mayawati said.
"In such circumstances Muslims should not waste their ballot by voting for them or else it will help the BJP.... Similarly Congress does not have a vote base and voting for it will also benefit BJP," Mayawati said. "To stop the BJP, the vote should not go to either the Samajwadi Party or the Congress as with every Assembly seat having 22 to 23 percent Dalit votes, BSP can sail through with the help of Muslim votes or else the same scenario can emerge that was seen in 2014," she stressed.
"..in the name of terror Muslims are also being looked with doubt which is not right as per the Constitution and our party condemns it strongly," Mayawati said. Under such a scenario implementation of Sachchar Committee recommendation also does not look possible, she said adding that today these sections are worried about their security.
The Dalits and minorities do not want mere sympathy of BJP or Modi but want concrete action against those who have committed atrocities on them, Mayawati said hitting out at the prime minister for his much criticised prolonged silence after Una Dalit attack and Dadri lynching incidents.
With inputs from agencies