In her first public meetings in western Uttar Pradesh since the Muzaffarnagar riots, Mayawati said the country would become vulnerable to communal riots should Narendra Modi come to power.
“The BJP has a PM candidate who in 2002 put his own state in the clutches of communal riots. If such a person becomes PM by mistake, our country can fall into the grip of communal violence at any point,” she said in Aligarh. She raised that in Bijnore too: “If he becomes the prime minister, then the entire country can go up in the flames of a communal riot at any time.”
She took on the ruling SP, too, saying in Bijnore that “without a government that can enforce law and order” such instances of violence against minorities would be common. And in Aligarh, she said under the SP regime, “hooliganism”, “corruption” and “communal riots” had reached the “ultimate limits”. “The Muzaffarnagar riots have left the people worried.”
She asked Muslims not to vote for the Congress either. “If you vote for the Congress, it will benefit the BJP… And you know what Samajwadi Party did in Muzaffarnagar… Don’t divide your vote. If you want to defeat the BJP, vote for the BSP,” she said in Aligarh.
At both rallies, she picked an expression out of the Modi rhetoric. She urged Bijnore voters not to vote for the “shehzada” or “filmy-shilmy” (the Congress’s Bijnore candidate is Jaya Prada). In Aligarh, she said, “Without announcing its Yuvraj as the PM candidate, the Congress is going ahead with him as the face of the party.”
Mayawati said several political parties came to power using “corporate funds” and then drafted policies to “cater to their interests”. “The BSP is the only party that is not using corporate funds to come to power,” she said. “Our government did not allow any atrocities on Sarva Samaj or any communal riots.”
In Bijnore, she explained her choice of venue for her rally: “This is where I was first given a ticket in 1989 and I won. Later, I contested again from Bijnore, but lost.” Here too, her target was the Muslim voter: “Then, there was tension after the incident in Ayodhya. There were riots here. Mulayam was chief minister… Muslims were scared to come out and vote for me.”