Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati’s announcement that her party will support the BJP in council elections to seven seats in Uttar Pradesh may be counter productive for the party and a boon for the Samajwadi Party and the Congress in the state.
One of the first from the Congress to react to Mayawati’s open announcement was party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, who said “anything more left after this”, indicating that the BSP supremo’s decision to be with the BJP may help the Congress make inroads in the BSP’s Dalit vote bank, especially when the Congress has been vocal on Dalit issues. “From Sonbhadra to Hathras, the Congress has been at the forefront of the agitations.” Priyanka said.
The SP and the Congress are out to to show that Mayawati and the BJP are on the same side.
One of the rebel BSP legislators, Hakim Lal Bind, claimed Mayawati used to say she was against the BJP, but now she is seeking BJP’s support.
Seven seats in Uttar Pradesh are going to the bypolls on November 3 and in all the seats, candidates from the BJP, Congress, BSP and SP are in fray.
All seven seats were won held by BJP candidates in the last elections.
Mayawati yesterday accused the SP of being anti-Dalit and admitted that withdrawing the case related to the state guest-house attack on her in 1995 was a ‘mistake’ on her part.
She added that the seven legislators, who had ‘betrayed’ the party, have been suspended.
Party sources said the suspensions were carried out after legal opinion was taken.
The suspended legislators are Aslam Chaudhary, Aslam Raini, Muztaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind, Govind Jatav, Sushma Jatav and Vandana Singh.
Meanwhile, the Congress suffered a major setback in Uttar Pradesh when former MP Annu Tandon quit the party with her supporters.
In a press release, Tandon blamed the state leadership for her decision and said she had met Priyanka and had discussed the issues with her but the talks proved futile. In her letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Tandon said she had worked for the Congress for 15 years as a party worker and as MP from Unnao.
She regretted the fact that she could not establish communication with the state leadership that remained unco-operative.
“Losing the 2019 election was not as hurtful as the fact that the party in Uttar Pradesh is disintegrating and the party high command is not taking effective steps to redeem the situation. The state leadership is only concerned with social media management and personal branding,” she stated.
She said that she and her supporters were victims of a misinformation campaign being led by nondescript people in the party.
“I remained in the Congress because I believed that things would change for the better and a new leadership would emerge. I have spoken to a number of other leaders and they share my sentiments and feelings,” she said.
Tandon said she would discuss with her supporters before deciding on the future course of action.
Tandon’s resignation from the Congress is a severe jolt to the party – more so, because by-elections in Bangarmau, which is a part of Unnao, are barely four days away.
Tandon’s resignation has given a voice to resentment that has been simmering within the party over Priyanka’s style of functioning and her over-dependence on leaders who do not subscribe to the Congress ideology.
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