- Mayawati is contesting Chhattisgarh election in alliance with Ajit Jogi
- In the run-up to UP Polls, she made "Saapnaath-Naagnath" comment, in 2016
- Neither BJP, nor Congress cared about the marginalised, poor: Mayawati
Uttar Pradesh politician Mayawati today stressed that she would prefer to sit in the opposition rather than form any alliance with either the Congress or the BJP in Chhattisgarh, describing them as "Saanpnath" and "Naagnath" (both snakes).
Mayawati, who was in talks with the Congress for a tie-up for state elections not long ago, said neither party cared about the marginalized, the poor, the farmers and labourers.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting the ongoing Chhattisgarh election in alliance with Ajit Jogi, a Congress rebel and the state's first chief minister.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister announced the alliance in September, effectively ending months of negotiations with the Congress which failed to go anywhere over her demand for more seats to contest in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh than the Congress was willing to yield. Mayawati reportedly also wanted a share of seats in Rajasthan, where the Congress fancies a victory on the back of anti-incumbency sentiment against the ruling BJP.
She had in 2016 made the "Saapnaath-Naagnath" comment, in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh polls. Just months before the 2019 national election, in which the opposition is hoping to band together a grand coalition to take on the BJP, the Congress is back in the doghouse.
Asked whether she was open to the idea of tying up with the Congress or the BJP to form a government after the elections, Mayawati snapped that the question was hypothetical when voting was still on.
"We are confident of winning an absolute majority. There is no question of taking support from anyone. Even if we don't get a majority, we will sit in opposition but will not go with either the BJP or Congress," she declared.
Yesterday, her alliance partner was non-committal but more amenable to the idea.
"In politics you can't rule out anything. Anything can happen," said Ajit Jogi, when asked on NDTV's The Countdown show whether he would take support from the BJP, if it came to that in Chhattisgarh, where many predict a close fight.
Asked whether Mayawati would be open to a tie-up with the BJP, Mr Jogi said, "I don't think she would like... But we're not talking to her, we are only working for our alliance and we are together. I've not talked to her in person about her equation with BJP or the Congress... That's what I read in newspapers."