New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, on Thurday asked voters in Uttar Pradesh to remain away from Congress. She alleged that BJP and Congress are working together in the state to sideline the alliance between BSP and Samajwadi Party (SP).
“BJP & Congress are cut from the same cloth. I urge voters that they should not vote for Congress, they should instead vote for the gathbandhan candidate and ensure that BJP is defeated. We all saw how Rahul hugged PM in the parliament both parties are in collusion but they will be wiped out of UP,” said Mayawati.
She was referring to the incident in July last year, when during his Parliamentary debate in Lok Sabha, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had walked across to Narendra Modi and hugged him.
Mayawati also added, “It is now becoming clear that BJP & Congress are fighting against the UP gathbandhan.
Her statement came after Congress general secretary for east UP, Priyanka Gandhi, said on Wednesday that Congress candidates would cut into BJP votes wherever they were not strong enough to win, hinting at a tactical understanding with the alliance.
"It is clear that our candidates are putting up a tough fight. Where they are strong enough, they will win on their own. Where they carry less weight, we have fielded such candidates that they would eat into BJP votes," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.
But her claim also didn’t go down well with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who also took potshots at the Congress on Thursday and said, “There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress wants to benefit the BJP.”
“The people are not with the Congress. The sentiment in the state is against them,” he added.
Even as Priyanka had on Wednesday hinted at an understanding, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said BSP supremo Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav were controlled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Canvassing for Congress MP P L Punia’s son, Tanuj, who is the party’s candidate from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said, “In the past five years, did the SP or BSP take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly? Did you hear any statement from Mayawati or Mulayam Singh Yadav? See, I am not scared of Narendra Modi. I don’t care. If someone is scared, it is Narendra Modi. But the controller of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav is in the hands of Narendra Modi.”
The Congress president further said the Prime Minister can put pressure on the SP and BSP because “they have a history”.
“Remember, Modi can’t put pressure on me, but he can put pressure on BSP and SP. They have a history, I don’t. He never said SP-mukt India or BSP-mukt India. He said Congress-mukt India. There is a reason. Because only the Congress can compete with Narendra Modi),” Rahul said.