Abuse vs counter-abuse politics: BJP now hopes to turn tables on BSP

NEW DELHI,AMITA SHAH: Two days ago, when BSP workers gathered in thousands in the heart of Lucknow to protest, there was concern in the BJP that its state leader’s derogatory remarks against Mayawati could upset it’s calculations in Uttar Pradesh. A day later, the BJP is all set to turn the tables on the BSP for “abuses” hurled at the family members of its ousted party vice president Dayashankar Singh.

The BJP has asked its state units to hold agitations across the state against the “foul language” used by BSP leaders against Singh’s wife, mother and daughter.

A party leader said Singh’s comments were unacceptable and the party took “corrective” steps by removing him from all posts, but Mayawati defended her party leaders offensive remarks. The counter reaction would mitigate the worry of the BJP, the leader claimed.

While the BJP, which has been aggressively trying to reach out to Dalits, did feel the heat of Singh’s remarks against Mayawati, sources claimed that the extent of damage would not be much as the party was anyway wooing the non-Jatavs like Nishads and Passis.

“The BJP has been working for the cause of Dalits. For the last 70 years nobody focused on doing away with manual scavenging the way we did. Even Mayawati did not on such a large scale,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.

Mayawati, however, has lost no time not only in cashing in on Singh’s remark equating her with a prostitute, but also in taking up the beating up of four Dalits for skinning a dead cow in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

The BJP, which was trying to send the message that its main enemy in UP was Samajwadi Party and that BSP was not in the race, could no longer blot out Mayawati. In fact, over the past four days, the BJP has been engaged in a direct face off with the BSP. The BSP’s agitation in Lucknow could push the BJP to consolidate its upper caste– Brahmin and Thakur– vote.

The BJP, which in the past had turned a deaf ear to protests against cow vigilante groups, found itself on the wrong foot in Gujarat, where the victims belonged to the very community the party was trying to win over.

Party leaders, who have been harping that the party has the highest number of Dalit MPs, said the BJP has acted promptly. Unlike in the Rohith Vemula suicide and Dadri, where the BJP persisted with its offensive tone, in the Gujarat and Mayawati issues it has accepted the mistakes, acted swiftly and even expressed regret, a party leader said.

Meanwhile, the BJP, the only party in UP which does not have a chief ministerial face, is planning to hold parivartan yatras from six parts of the state, which will culminate in Lucknow later in the year.