IN AN attempt to reach out to people from Other Backward Classes (OBC), who are said to be tilting towards the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday said that people from both OBC and Dalit communities are “victims of an unequal Hindu caste system”.
She also accused the saffron party of employing “various tactics to divide” the “Bahujan Samaj”, which, she said, includes people from Dalit, OBC, Muslim and other religious minority communities.
Addressing a rally at Lucknow’s Ambedkar Memorial Park on the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar, Mayawati claimed that the BJP and the RSS want to change the secular Constitution drafted by Ambedkar and establish the old order of “Hindutvadi, caste-based system”.
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She also took on the two other prominent opposition parties in next year’s state Assembly elections – the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Congress – but some of her most stinging salvos and criticism was reserved for the BJP, which has poached several leaders from the BSP in recent months.
Since June, the BSP has lost 12 OBC MLAs, including its general secretary and most prominent OBC leader – Swami Prasad Maurya – to the BJP. Most of these legislators are from extremely backward castes, a strong BSP support base for long. The BJP has also tried to woo OBCs by appointing Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya as the party’s state president, and has projected several leaders from these communities in the run-up to the elections. Stating that people from Dalit and backward caste communities were known as ati-shudras and shudras, respectively, during the British rule and that Ambedkar worked for emancipation of these groups, Mayawati said the BJP is trying to spread “misinformation” by saying that Ambedkar worked for the uplift of only Dalits, and not people from extremely backward castes.
Emphasising that the BSP had fought for the implementation of the Mandal Commission’s report that granted reservation to OBCs, Mayawati said BJP withdrew support to the V P Singh government because the saffron party was opposed to such reservations.
In an indication to the social combination she is trying to forge for the forthcoming elections – as against 2007, when she had suddenly experimented with social engineering between Dalits and upper castes, especially Brahmins – Mayawati said it is time for Dalits, Backward Castes, Muslims and those who converted to other religions to unite in order to get the “master key of political power” for social and economic welfare.
Mayawati alleged that both BJP and Congress are “exploiters” of these people, who form a majority of population, and have all these years worked on keeping them divided in order to keep them away from power.
“If the BJP comes to power, Muslims can understand what will happen in Varanasi and Mathura…(and) Dalits can understand how many (incidents such as) Rohith Vemula (suicide) and Una (attack on Dalits) will take place,” Mayawati said.