NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that the grand old party had reached out to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati for an alliance ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and even offered her the chief minister’s post, but she did not respond.
“You must have seen that Mayawati did not fight the elections. We had sent a message to Mayawati – ‘let’s have an alliance, you be the chief minister’. She did not even talk,” he said while speaking at the launch of the book ‘The Dalit Truth — Battles For Realising Ambedkar’s Vision’, edited by former bureaucrat and his close aide K Raju.
Mayawati’s BSP put up one of its worst performances in the recently-concluded Assembly elections with just one seat.
The former Congress president said he respect Dalit leaders like Kanshi Ram “a lot”.
“They gave blood and sweat to awaken the Dalit voice in Uttar Pradesh… It is another matter that the Congress suffered losses… but today Mayawati is saying I will not fight for that voice,” he said.
“She left the field open. Why? The CBI, ED, Pegasus,” he said.
He urged Dalits to fight for their rights by treading the path shown by Constitution architect BR Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi said, “We have to protect the Constitution. To save the Constitution, we have to protect our institutions. But all the institutions are in the hands of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).”
Charging the RSS and ruling BJP with attacking institutions of the country, Gandhi said, “This is not a new assault. It started the day when Mahatma Gandhi was killed by bullets.”
He reiterated his allegation that “three-four billionaires, besides the CBI, the ED, and the Pegasus spyware control the political system”.
“I am telling you. If I had taken even one rupee, I would not have been able to deliver this speech. I would sit silently in the corner, unable to deliver this speech.”
He also said that he had no interest in power. “Instead, I try to understand the country. Some politicians are in pursuit of power. They ponder about attaining power throughout…,” he said, adding, “I was born at the centre of power but honestly, I don’t have an interest in it.”
“Look at the condition of the economy today, look at unemployment. So it is time to fight. Ambedkar ji and Gandhi ji had shown the way, which is not easy but needs to be followed,” he told the audience.