By repeatedly emphasising that the BJP and the Congress are birds of the same feather, she has avoided fencing herself in one camp.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati has been unsparing in her criticism of the Congress, even as most other non-BJP parties are hiding their anti-Congress feelings, though not necessarily burying them. She equated the Congress and the BJP in a strong statement on Thursday, and accused both of carrying out “state terror.”
The use of National Security Act (NSA) against suspected cow slaughterers by the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and sedition charges on 14 students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh show that both parties have the same character, she said. In the recent elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Congress was keen to have an alliance with the BSP but Ms. Mayawati made demands that the party could not accommodate. In U.P, the BSP and SP have announced an alliance, and Ms. Mayawati is opposed to any understanding with the Congress.
Ms. Mayawati has reasons to be cold — or even hostile — to the Congress.
Unlike Akhilesh Yadav’s backward caste base, Ms. Mayawati’s Dalit base could be vulnerable to appeals from the Congress. In fact, barring U.P, in other States, a good chunk of the Dalits support the Congress even now. A stronger Congress threatens BSP more than it does the SP. Supporting the Congress’s attempt to revive itself can only be to Ms. Mayawati’s detriment. That is the reason why Mr. Yadav is more open to the Congress, while she is not.
She could make adjustments with the Congress, if the latter is willing to allow her a significant foothold in its strongholds. Congress leaders in these States consider her demands over the top. However, Congress Chief Ministers are trying to keep the BSP chief in good humour. She wants a national alliance with a good share of seats outside U.P,. or no alliance in U.P.
The BJP option is also open for Ms. Mayawati, as it has supported her in the past. By repeatedly emphasising that the BJP and the Congress are birds of the same feather, she has avoided fencing herself in one camp. If she emerges with a decent number of Lok Sabha seats, the Congress could be pressured to support her to the Prime Minister’s post. Or else, she could also look for an understanding with the BJP.