Grand Alliance takes on Adityanath

first_imgTaking on the BJP’s Hindutva agenda, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said on Saturday that both “Ali and Bajrangbali” belonged to the Grand Alliance.Addressing a massive ‘Mahagathbandhan’ rally in Samajwadi Party stronghold Budaun, on a day when BJP president Amit Shah also held a rally in the city, Ms. Mayawati took a dig at U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s recent comments where he had alluded that the Grand Alliance was a coalition for Muslims. “Hamare paas Ali bhi hai, Bajrangbali bhi hai. It is not me — it is Yogi who said that Bajarangbali is a Dalit,” she said.Mr. Adityanath had described Lord Hanuman as a Dalit at a rally in Alwar during the Rajasthan Assembly elections in 2018.SP president Akhilesh Yadav echoed her sentiment. “The U.P. CM is telling us the caste of Gods. The Gods are angry,” he said. He described the Lok Sabha election as the “vote for change” that would bring the “dispossessed to power”.‘Voters disillusioned’Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Yadav said: “People are disillusioned with the person who presented himself as a chaiwala in 2014. His promises turned out like tea without milk.” This time, Mr. Yadav said, Mr. Modi had come as a chowkidar. “Hum unki chowki chheen lenge (We will unseat him),” he added.Earlier, Ms. Mayawati once again appealed to Muslims not to waste their votes on the Congress. “Muslims have suffered during the Congress rule as well. The Sachar Committee report is a testimony to that,” she said.A seat with strong Yadav-Muslim presence, Budaun has been with the SP for the last six Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, it was one of the three seats in western Uttar Pradesh that the BJP could not wrest from the SP.Sitting MP Dharmendra Yadav is the nephew of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. He is locked in a triangular contest with the Congress’ Saleem Iqbal Shervani, who has represented Budaun five times (four times on an SP ticket and once as a Congress candidate), and Sanghmitra Maurya, daughter of Swami Prasad Maurya, a Minister in the Adityanath government.In 2014, Ms. Maurya unsuccessfully fought against the SP patriarch in Mainpuri on a BSP ticket. Mr. Maurya had a long innings with the BSP before he parted ways with Ms. Mayawati in 2016. Apart from the BJP’s vote bank, Ms. Maurya is also expected to cut into the BSP’s Other Backward Class base. Budaun is one of the most backward districts in western U.P. Mr. Dharmendra Yadav held the BJP government responsible for putting a spanner in the development projects that he had initiated in the constituency. He thanked Ms. Mayawati for boosting the confidence of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ workers by agreeing to hold a rally in Budaun.Ms. Mayawati talked of her connection to the constituency which goes back to the days when she represented the Bilsi reserved seat in the State Assembly.In a city synonymous with poet-lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, most of the speakers made lyrical appeals to the crowd, which didn’t respond and remained unruly. The crowds in Deoband and Meerut, where BSP candidates are in the fray, were much more disciplined. Police presence was limited as a BJP rally was also going on in the city, and members of the Bahujan Volunteer Force were not as enthusiastic.The moment the rally got over, members of crowd walked away with iron rods that were a part of the security arrangement. “This is their [Yadav] stronghold. We can’t do much. We have to vote for them because it is Behenji’s [Mayawati’s] wish. But we don’t know what the future holds for us,” said Ravindra Kumar, a Jatav member of BVF from Sahaswan.last_img

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