Fielding of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party dissidents in the Lok Sabha polls by Congress and its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s meeting with Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan at a hospital in Meerut last Wednesday has not gone down well with the alliance leaders, especially BSP chief Mayawati.
The BSP brass is miffed at the Congress welcoming former MP Kaiser Jahan into its fold and later fielding her from Sitapur Lok Sabha constituency.
SP turncoat Rakesh Sachan was also first given membership of the Congress and then fielded by the party from Fatehpur.
Sources said that SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati had a meeting in Lucknow immediately after Priyanka left the Meerut hospital after meeting Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
While it was claimed that poll strategy was discussed in the meeting, sources claimed that a miffed BSP chief also deliberated on fielding grand alliance candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
The alliance had earlier left the seats for the Congress, maintaining that they would not field anyone against the Gandhis.
Sources said that Mayawati was upset with the Priyanka-Chandrashekhar meeting and felt that the Congress could try to use the Scheduled Caste leader to make a dent in her party’s core vote bank.
Even as Priyanka stated that no political meaning be derived from the courtesy visit, the BSP leaders claimed that the Congress had assured its support to Chandrashekhar if he contested from Nagina Lok Sabha constituency, once a favourite parliamentary seat of Mayawati.
The apprehension of the BSP also stems from the fact that Chandrashekhar heads the Bhim Army, a Dalit outfit which wields considerable influence over the community in and around Saharanpur. The Bhim Army has also pledged its support to Congress candidate from Saharanpur, Imran Masood.
Some SP-BSP leaders felt that Priyanka’s visit was part of a ‘pressure tactic’ by the Congress to get itself included in the alliance.
Besides, the SP chief was unhappy with the Congress for fielding not only Rakesh Sachan, but also Saleem Sherwani against his kin Dharmendra Yadav from Budaun.
Meanwhile, Mayawati on Friday asked party workers to pay true homage to BSP ideologue Kanshi Ram by ensuring good results in the Lok Sabha elections.
“His birth anniversary is being celebrated at a time when Lok Sabha polls have been announced and true homage to Kanshi Ramji would be if workers and leaders ensure good results by remaining vigilant against tricks that our adversaries will be resorting to,” Mayawati said after paying floral tributes to the BSP founder in Lucknow on Friday.
The BSP chief said that Kanshi Ram’s birth anniversary was usually celebrated with grandeur but it was being organised in a sober manner to ensure that the Model Code of Conduct was not violated.
Saturday, 16 March 2019 | PNS | Lucknow
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