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Mayawati does u-turn on support to BJP

BSP supremo Mayawati. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said on Monday that she would rather take sanyas (retire) from politics than ally with the BJP or contest elections with it.

The BSP will never ally or contest any election at any cost with “parochial and communal forces like the BJP,” Ms. Mayawati said in statement that seemed aimed at the Muslim community. The ideologies of the BSP and BJP were polar opposites, she added.

The BSP chief's clarification was issued to reassure the minority community days after she had stated that she would ensure the defeat of the SP candidate in the upcoming MLC election even if it meant voting for the BJP. The SP was quick to seize on her comments, saying her claim was an open admission of her links with the ruling BJP.

Blames opponents

In an apparent damage control effort on the eve of voting for the bypolls in U.P. and M.P., and second phase of the Bihar Assembly election, Ms. Mayawati’s statement said her opponents were spreading “false propaganda” about her remarks as part of a “conspiracy” to wean Muslim voters away from her.

“I will take sanyas from politics but I cannot contest election with the BJP,” the former chief minister said, stressing that she had no plans of retirement yet.

Ms Mayawati claimed that despite forming a government with the BJP thrice in U.P., the BSP did not allow any oppression against any person or religion. There was not a single “Hindu-Muslim” riot in U.P. during her tenure, she claimed.

Stating that she had always provided adequate representation to Muslims, Ms. Mayawati pointed out that in the U.P. bypoll for seven seats, she had fielded two Muslims candidates.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav meanwhile reiterated his allegation of the BSP having a tacit understanding with the BJP.

“Both BJP and BSP say they want the SP to lose. I want to understand how their desires aligned,” Mr. Yadav told reporters.

Test for opposition

The byelection will not only measure any anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath but also test the strength of the opposition parties as they fight to claim the position of the main challenger in 2022. While the SP under Akhilesh Yadav, with a larger presence in the Assembly, has emerged as the frontrunner, the Congress has also staked a claim through the frequent visits to the State by its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Ms. Mayawati, however, has been relegated from ground politics especially since the 2019 Lok Sabha election which she contested along with the SP.

A poor performance in the bypoll would further dent her prospects. In byelections for 11 seats held in 2019 after the Lok Sabha results, the BSP had fared poorly. The SP has wrested two seats from its opponents — one each from the BJP and the BSP. The BSP lost the only constituency it had won.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 5:46:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bsp-bjp-alliance-not-possible-ideologies-opposite-says-mayawati/article33002497.ece

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