LUCKNOW: Calling for the ouster of the BJP from the Centre, BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday said her party was not averse to joining a prospective grand alliance against the saffron outfit but would do so only if it was offered a respectable share of seats. Otherwise, it was prepared to go it alone in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, she said.
At the same time, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister rejected the political overtures of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
Interacting with media persons on Sunday, the BSP chief said that in the previous Lok Sabha elections, though her party failed to get a single seat in UP, it gave a commendable fight to BJP candidates and secured a respectable vote share. "The performance of my party was better than many others in 2014. Our vote share had increased and we were at number two position on a number of seats," claimed Mayawati.
The BSP chief said that the BJP was trying to cash in on the name of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "While Atal Bihari Vajpayee was alive, they did not follow his footsteps. As the elections are approaching, BJP leaders are using different tricks," said Mayawati.
She also attacked the ruling party over the Rafale jet deal, saying that the Central government had not responded suitably to the charges of irregularities against it. "The BJP has become expert in hiding corruption in all these years," she said.
She accused the Centre of suppressing those who were backing Dalits and the backward and fighting their cases in courts. She claimed that the deprived, Dalits and the downtrodden were feeling hurt and annoyed with the BJP. The BSP chief charged the BJP with favouring corporate houses through demonetisation and GST, instead of creating jobs for the unemployed. She also raised the issue of mob lynching and condemned it.
Mayawati said that she had no intention of forging any relation with Azad, who was released from jail on Friday. "For the past few days, a person just released from jail is trying to strike a chord with me by calling me 'bua' (aunt) for political gains. I make it clear that I can't have an association with anyone who has been jailed for violence, rioting and anti-social activities. He has been freed to counter the BSP. These people are not Dalit messiahs as they pose to be. They make organisations to bolster their own agenda and run their business. I have no relation to such people. I am only related to common man, Dalits, Adivasis and backwards. Had they been Dalit supporters, they would have backed the BSP instead forming a separate organisation," stated Mayawati.
The Bhim Army chief, while replying to a question after his release from Saharanpur jail, said he had no differences with Mayawati as she had been fighting for the rights of Dalits like him.
Following his release, Azad met Imran Masood, the Congress heavyweight in western UP. Political observers see the meeting as a testimony to talk of 'Ravan' being in touch with the top Congress leadership, which is a matter of concern for the BSP leadership as it reportedly does not want to see the Congress in an Opposition alliance.