Union minister and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale Sunday praised BSP chief Mayawati, calling her “a strong leader” of the Dalit community and a “good administrator”. Athawale was in Lucknow to attend a World Religious Conference.
In July, Mayawati had called Athawale “BJP’s slave” while responding to his remark about why she had not “converted to Buddhism”. Speaking to the media, Athawale said he had come to UP not to divide Dalits, but to regain RPI’s lost ground which had been “encroached” by the BSP.
Accusing Mayawati and her party of “using Bhimrao Ambedkar’s name only to contest elections”, he said that RPI workers had sacrificed a lot for Ambedkar’s honour. However, the RPI leader liberally praised Mayawati later. “Mayawati is a good lady and a strong leader of our community. I am not here to insult her. I am here to uproot BSP and those who had removed statues of Ambedkar… She is a strong administrator and a lady of our community who is in politics. When a BJP leader recently insulted her, protests were staged across the country and I too had lodged a protest,” he said.