Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati said Wednesday that the Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) were all working in cahoots to prevent her, a Dalit woman, from rising in politics.
Addressing a mammoth "Savdhan" (caution) rally in the Uttar Pradesh capital, she exhorted party workers and supporters to fan out into every nook and cranny in the country to inform people of the inclusive policies of the BSP.
She asked them to ensure that the "vote transfer" strategy of political rivals against the Bahujan Samaj Party is countered. "We cannot just keep complaining about the others, we must also devise strategies to defeat this nefarious design of our opponents," she told the crowd, which roared in approval.
Mayawati asked her supporters to ensure that people of all sections, "sarva samaj" (all of society), are brought under the BSP's umbrella, which will unite people from all classes and castes, including the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the other backward classes.
Pointing out that while her party only won 20 Lok Sabha seats in 2009, its candidates stood second in 47 seats, the Dalit leader said the time has come to focus on these seats also, so that the party bags the maximum number of seats in the state.
Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, and all parties are eyeing the state to gain power at the centre in the crucial Lok Sabha polls scheduled for April-May this year.
Alleging that the central parties have unleashed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against her, Mayawati said she was a victim of a political witch hunt that cornered her between 2003-2006. "I was pushed into trouble between those years, but I never lost hope and am thankful to all those who stood by me then," she said, while trying to strike an emotional chord with the people who braved intense cold to attend the rally.
Urging party workers and supporters to ensure that the BSP returns to power with absolute majority in Uttar Pradesh in the state assembly polls of 2017, Mayawati asked them to ensure that the state sends the maximum number of BSP members to the Lok Sabha.
She took a dig at other parties, saying that her rally was not of people "sitting on chairs, but of people who sit on durries (mats)".
She targetted arch rival Samajwadi Party and accused it of running a mafia government in Uttar Pradesh. The state has turned into a "crime pradesh", she said, demanding the imposition of president's rule.
Despite extending support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre during its second term in office, Mayawati lashed out at the Congress-led government, and blamed it for inflation, economic slowdown, price rise, rising unemployment, growing disparity in society, policy paralysis, threat to internal security and a weak foreign policy.