BSP chief Mayawati (L) and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
BSP chief Mayawati (L) and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

It is still two years for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh but the political happenings in the State appear to be in a fast track mode.

While the Yogi Adityanath-led Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government proposes to rename the district Basti as “Vashishth Nagar” in the name of Maharshi Vashishth who taught deity Ram as per epic Ramayana, the Samajwadi Party chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav battles the poster war “Akhilesh Yadav missing” in his Loksabha constituency.

The other two political camps-Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party- are also abuzz with activities.

Congress’ general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday visited Varanasi’s lesser-known temple in Seer Goverdhanpur -Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan- had prasad at langar (community lunch) and addressed a public meeting as well, which miffed Bahujan Samaj Party chief and former chief minister Mayawati.

Shri Guru Ravidas was the 14th century saint-poet whose birthplace is the biggest pilgrimage for followers of Ramdasia Sikhs, Adi-Dharmi and Dalit communities of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Sunday, being the Guru’s birth anniversary attracts millions of his followers from across India.

Mayawati, who leaves no stone unturned to target Priyanka since she has started focussing a lot on Uttar Pradesh, tweeted promptly to dub the Priyanka’s gesture as “theatrics”.

“Congress, BJP and other parties never respected Sant Guru Ravidas when they ruled the government. When they are ousted from power, they indulge in theatrics to visit his temples due to sheer selfishness. People should be careful,” Mayawati tweeted in Hindi.

In another tweet, she said, “The BSP is the only party which had given full respect to Sant Ravidas when it was in power in UP. Other parties seek to finish whatever we did. This is condemnable.”

Mayawati has a reason to worry. Sant Ravidas is worshipped among Jatav, Chamar, Mochi communities which form a sizeable chunk of population in UP.

They had been the core vote bank of Congress in the past which drifted towards BSP.

In UP Assembly, Congress is the fourth largest party with seven MLAs, much behind the SP (54) and BSP (19). It has been struggling for its revival in the state which was its stronghold three decades ago.

Naturally, it has to work very hard to expand its base and regain the lost ground. Ahead of 2022 Assembly polls, the Congress seeks to woo back Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins who drifted towards BSP, SP and BJP respectively.“

Mayawati is a self-proclaimed Dalit leader of the State and even in India. Her vote bank in the state is almost intact even if she is out of power. Congress has the potential to disturb this vote bank. Priyanka’s entry into UP politics has also challenged Mayawati’s position as the only woman leader of UP,” says a professor from Lucknow University describing Mayawati’s concerns.

Asserting herself as a real Sant Ravidas follower, she further issued a statement to target SP, "As soon as the BSP comes to power, it will rename Bhadohi as Sant Ravidas Nagar once again. The SP government had changed its name due to its casteist mentality,” she said.

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