Patch-ups & break-ups

BSP-SP understanding to continue: Mayawati

Lucknow : BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday said that the Rajya Sabha election result will have no impact on her party’s association with the Samajwadi Party and the two will work with even more force to defeat BJP in the 2019 general elections. A day after her party candidate lost to the BJP in an intense contest in Uttar Pradesh despite backing from SP, the BSP supremo said the ruling party, which secured the win through “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” means, is expecting that she will break off ties with the SP and “it (BJP) will have a field day in 2019”, but she will not let it happen.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in malpractice in the election, she said that the ruling party had “conspired” to defeat her candidate to create a rift between BSP and SP. “I will not let that happen at any cost. They were up all night eating laddoos and thinking that Mayawati will get angry and break off and that they will have a field day in 2019…,” Mayawati told reporters here.

 ‘The Rajya Sabha election result will have no impact on the understanding between the BSP and SP and their conspiracy will cost them heavily as the workers of BSP and SP will now work with even more force to stop them from coming to power in 2019,” she said.

Her remarks came after Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav cancelled the victory celebration for his party nominee Jaya Bachchan to be held in the state capital as a sign of solidarity with the BSP whose lone candidate backed by the SP lost in the Rajya Sabha polls. ‘There will not be an iota of difference in the close understanding between the BSP and SP,” Mayawati said, making it clear that BSP is keen to consolidate its association with the SP which is seen as a major reason for the BJP’s recent defeat in two prestigious Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats.

After it wrested the two seats with the BSP’s backing, the SP had reciprocated by promising to ensure victory of BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar. However, the BSP lost out in a cliff-hanger on Friday.

 “I am thankful for the support of Congress and SP whose seven MLAs voted for BSP candidate,” Mayawati said. “I want to warn BJP and RSS that I will not allow their special aim of creating rift in the new understanding between the BSP and Samajwadi Party to succeed,” she said.

The former chief minister, however, said that had she been in Akhilesh’s place she would have ensured the victory of the candidate of the other party even if it meant making sacrifices so that the BJP could not dare make attempt to end their closeness. ‘…He erred a little in this since he is a little inexperienced but he will soon learn to give a befitting reply,” she said and indicated that she was ready to put behind the bitter past with the SP.

The BJP leaders will remind her about the state guest house case in 1995, when an attempt was allegedly made on her life by SP men, Mayawati said and added that the present SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was nowhere on the political scene then. “Will it be right and justified to hold him responsible for it,” she said. Attacking the BJP, she said, ‘They still want to see dalits and backwards as deprived and are not able to digest the SP and BSP’s new understanding and have so termed it as selfish, unholy, opportunistic alliance or the friendship of snake and moles”, and asked the ruling party to shun such mindset or else the people will send them to “life-long exile”. On the guesthouse incident, she said, “I want to ask that by giving the highest police post to the officer responsible for the guest house case, is the BJP not out to get me murdered so as to end the BSP movement for always.” Mayawati also said her party has always maintained that the SC/ST Act should not be misused, but accused the Centre of not taking up the matter effectively in the Supreme Court. She also announced suspension of her MLA Anil Singh, alleging he cross voted in favour of the BJP to serve his business interests. She accused the BJP of creating terror and indulging in horse trading. The BSP chief said that Rajya Sabha election results will not compensate for the loss suffered by the BJP in the Lok Sabha by-election in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. To a question on MLA from Kunda, Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, she cautioned Akhilesh Yadav against relying on him. Mayawati said that if the BJP is so assured of its victory, it needs to conduct the future elections through ballot papers instead of EVMs.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party said that it had planned a function at the party headquarters to celebrate the victory of its candidate Jaya Bachchan, but since BSP candidate, Bhimrao Ambedkar (BSP) lost, party president Akhilesh Yadav has cancelled it. After the BJP won nine out of 10 Rajya Sabha seats seats in the state, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had claimed that the election had exposed the “opportunistic face of SP”. “It can take votes but not give votes in return”, he said referring to SP’s victory in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.

Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma termed the alliance of the SP and the BSP as “lathabandhan” (a tie-up to intimidate people). “In fact, the alliance is not based on any principle except on ‘Modi hatao, BJP hatao’ (Remove Modi and BJP),” he said.

TDP quit unilaterally: Shah; Naidu hits back

Amaravati/New Delhi : BJP President Amit Shah unleashed a belligerent attack on Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, saying his “unilateral” decision to quit the NDA was for political considerations and not development, triggering a bitter war of words between the two on Saturday.  Naidu hit back at Shah’s open letter to him, saying it was “full of false information” that hurt sentiments of the Telugu people.  The BJP chief’s March 23-dated letter formalised the split between the two allies, a week after the TDP pulled out of the NDA over the demands for special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Shah described as “untrue and baseless” the TDP chief’s allegations that BJP was not sensitive to aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh. He said the central government had released Rs 1,050 crore in the first three years coming to power as special development assistance for seven backward districts of the state.

“Surprisingly, the state has spent only 12 per cent of this amount and 88 per cent remains unutilised.” Shah termed as “nothing but a figment of your imagination” the CM’s claims that the Central government had asked the amount be taken back because it was released without PMO’s sanction.

He accused the Naidu government of “some serious lapses…which can’t be ignored”. He said he had learned that the Centre had not received appropriate details of developmental fund utilisation. The BJP chief said utilisation certificates were received only for 12 per cent of the grant released for backward districts in 2016-17 and for only eight per cent for Rs 1,000 crore released for the capital region. This, he said, reflected “governance deficit”. Shah said BJP was committed to the cause of development of Andhra Pradesh but Naidu allowed the mandate earned by the two parties “be squandered for political reasons”. “Unfortunately, partisan politics has overtaken leading to your party leaving the NDA… The decision will be construed as being guided wholly and solely by political considerations instead of developmental concerns.” Naidu replied to Shah’s letter in the state Assembly, alleging that the BJP chief misrepresented the facts. “Amit Shah’s letter is full of false information, which shows their attitude. Even now, the Centre is providing special benefits to North Eastern states. Had Andhra Pradesh been given the same hand-holding, many industries would have come to the state,” said Naidu.

Defending his party’s decision to quit the BJP-led NDA, Naidu said it was done to respect the feelings of the people, who were feeling betrayed by the Central government.  He said the NDA did not discharge its responsibility towards its ally and the state.  Naidu took strong exception to the BJP President attributing ulterior motives to him. “You may have that habit, I don’t have,” he said, reacting to Shah’s remark that he was looking to divert the funds received from the Central government. Slamming Shah for using some strong words in the letter, Naidu said it reflected the functioning of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).  Disputing Shah’s claim that the Central government extended all help to the state, he dared him to come out with facts and respond to the points raised by him in his letter earlier. The TDP chief made a point by point rebuttal to Shah’s letter to assert that the Central government failed to come to state’s rescue. Naidu also told the Assembly that even the funds which the Central government had to give to the state towards the share in the taxes were being shown under the assistance extended to the state during last four years.  Earlier, Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, who is also a cabinet minister, denied Shah’s allegation that the state did not submit utilisation certificates for the funds released by the Centre.

BJP sets target of over 21 LS seats from NE in 2019 polls: Guwahati: Gearing up for the next general election, BJP President Amit Shah set a target of 21 seats out of 25 parliamentary constituencies from northeast in Lok Sabha polls in 2019. At a rally of BJP booth unit chiefs, he asked party members to work towards achieving this target. “I want to give a target for 2019 polls. We want to win more than 21 seats out of 25 seats from North East,” Shah said in the rally.

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