Lucknow: Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati had raised her fist in anger over Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s visit to Ravidas Mandir in Varanasi on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the influential Dalit saint last week. Mayawati alleged that the Congress and BJP are using the name of the great Dalit saint for their political gains and agenda despite doing nothing for the backward class.

This is not the first time that Mayawati has targeted the Congress general secretary UP unit in-charge, who is struggling to re-establish the old party as a formidable force in the politically important state.

The Congress has been battling for existence in the state for the last three decades after the regional parties like SP and BSP became powerful and have ruled the state by gaining the confidence of the vote bank.

Mayawati, who has ruled the state four times, is an experienced politician who never misses an opportunity to attack and question Priyanka Gandhi.  Mayawati, a mass Dalit leader of the state and country is well aware of Priyanka Gandhi's political moves in UP. She knows that if the Congress is rejuvenated in Uttar Pradesh it would dent the BSP vote bank. 

In the last couple of months, Mayawati has criticised Priyanka’s UP tour on social media and in press conferences, but the latter has never replied. 


However, the main reason behind Mayawati's annoyance with Priyanka Gandhi is her meeting with Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad alias Ravan in Kashi.  The Congress in the last few months is trying to woo, and work out an alliance with Ravan, an emerging Dalit youth icon in the state. Bhim Army and its chief have a strong following amongst the Dalit and backward classes in western UP and he been trying to establish his foothold in other parts of UP and the country too. He was quite active in the protest over CAA in Delhi’s Jama Masjid last month. Mayawati doesn’t want to lose her core Dalit support that’s why she has alleged that Azad and his political step will ruin the Dalit movement of BSP.

Mayawati claims that BSP is the only party who has worked for the upliftment of backward classes and deprived sections of the society, while all the other parties have only cheated the Dalits. The fact is that the Bhim Army wants to become the new face of Dalits, but the core vote bank of BSP and Bhim Army is similar which makes her uncomfortable. In the last year, Bhim Army has grown its presence in the state through its activities and social media and they are planning to launch their political party before the 2022 Assembly election in UP. The 20% vote of Dalit population always plays a crucial role in every election and most of the population are inclined to support the BSP.

Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi also went to the hospital to show care for Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar in Saharanpur before the general election in 2019, when he was arrested.

Meanwhile, Ravan has denied any political tie-up with the Congress after meeting with Priyanka. This was seen as a setback for Congress who was looking for support from the Bhim Army in the Lok Sabha election in 2019. But in the last year both have come close on many occasions, with the Bhim Army chief indicating that in the future if he joins any political outfit for elections then BSP could lose the Dalit vote bank in the state.