Pre-empting BJP’s retaliation on their turbulent ties since the infamous 1995 state guesthouse attack, Mayawati twice mentioned the uncomfortable incident, saying she was “ready to leave the baggage behind for the sake of demolishing BJP”. On the question of whether Samajwadi Party would extend support to Mayawati as PM post-elections, Akhilesh Yadav said he endorsed the idea of backing the next PM from Uttar Pradesh.
After a pincer attack on the saffron party, Mayawati did not spare Congress. Drawing parallels between the two, she said if Bofors brought Congress down, the Rafale deal will spell BJP’s doom. “Congress clamped Emergency and in the present BJP-led government, the country is passing through a phase of undeclared emergency,” she said.
Akhilesh has been shedding past baggage, which was not possible with father Mulayam at the helm. None in the Yadav clan, including Mulayam or Ram Gopal Yadav, were present at Saturday’s presser. Uncle Shivpal, who deserted the family to float his own party, was also in Mayawati’s line of fire. “BJP has invested big money to install Shivpal and weaken Akhilesh,” she said.
While Mayawati led the onslaught, Akhilesh avoided a direct attack. “Mayawati’s statement on Congress is enough to clarify our stand,” he said. Blasting the Yogi government over the spate of encounters in UP, he said, “Caste is the deciding criteria for government programmes, plans and benefits and certain poor and vulnerable castes are at the receiving end.”