Mayawati spews vitriol against Rahul Gandhi

April 7th, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi/Lucknow, April 7 (IANS) The fight over Dalit votes between the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress sank to a new low Monday with BSP chief Mayawati alleging that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi “purified” himself with soap and incense after visiting Dalit homes. “After returning from a Dalit’s house to Delhi, Rahul Gandhi bathes with soap and purifies himself with incense,” said BSP leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati at a public rally in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.

Reacting to Mayawati’s latest round of vitriol against Gandhi, Congress spokesperson Digvijay Singh, party general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, said: “I am very surprised by her (Mayawati’s) reaction. No chief minister speaks in such derogatory terms.”

The Congress and the BSP are locked in combat over winning the support of Dalits. The conflict has aggravated with Rahul Gandhi making forays among Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, among whom the BSP holds sway.

Last month, Rahul Gandhi visited the home of a Dalit family in Etawah who had lost six members in a confrontation with bandits. In January, he spent a night with a Dalit family in Amethi, his constituency.

At the Congress’ Kanpur convention last Monday, Gandhi charged Mayawati with betraying the interests of Dalits. The BSP chief minister shot back, saying that the Congress in its efforts to woo Dalits was indulging in “political gimmicks”.

Asked whether the Congress would take any legal action against Mayawati for defamation, Singh said: “I am going to Azamgarh tomorrow. I will then respond.”

“If Rahul Gandhi is shaking hands with a Dalit or carrying a child on his shoulders, what is her (Mayawati’s) problem?” asked Singh. “Can a Dalit go to Mayawati’s house? She should do some introspection, before making such a statement,” he said.

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