Two horrific gang rape cases, one in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and the other in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, have become fuel for political battle ahead of the last phase of national elections. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mayawati have been battling over the Alwar case for the last two days, the Congress today targeted the BJP over the Hapur case, in which a woman, allegedly sold and repeatedly gangraped, had set herself on fire.
Pointing to her claim that she had been turned away by the police when she tried to register a complaint, the Congress today targeted the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
"In Hapur, the woman burnt herself because she isn't getting justice from the Uttar Pradesh police", the Congress said, adding in a sarcastic vein the BJP slogan "Modi hai toh mumkin hai (When Modi is there, anything is possible)".
The Congress has also claimed that some BJP lawmakers have been involved in "atrocities against women" - a reference to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's comment that in the rape of the Scheduled caste woman in Alwar, it has been found that a former BJP lawmaker "was trying to negotiate" with her family.
The Congress has been at the receiving end of censure both from Mayawati and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the woman's family claimed the police delayed filing a First Information Report because of the ongoing elections.
Speaking to the media today, Mr Gehlot said, "We have reports that a former BJP MLA was trying to negotiate with the family of the victim. So if there is any pressure, it was from their side".
"The Prime Minister has no knowledge of what happened on Alwar. We acted promptly suspended the SHO (officer in charge of a police station), removed the Superintendent of Police and arrested all the accused," he said. The Prime Minister, he added, "should not attack the Rajasthan government without being properly informed".
Asked about Mayawati attacking the Congress on the matter, Chief Minister Gehlot said, "I understand her feelings, as she is a voice for the Scheduled Castes".
Mayawati, whose two lawmakers in the state are supporting the Gehlot government, had threatened earlier to withdraw support, prompting allegations of "crocodile tears from PM Modi".
She had launched a scathing counterattack, accusing him of "dramebaazi (play acting) with his love for Dalits".