Mayawati accuses BJP of caste, religion-based politics

New Delhi: BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday accused the BJP of practising “caste- and religion-based politics for political gains” and alleged that its members had prevented her from raising in the Rajya Sabha the issue of atrocities on Dalits and minorities.

“The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is practising caste- and religion-based politics for political gains from the day it came to power (in May 2014). Such environment is in extreme in BJP-ruled states,” the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader wrote in a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari in which she also said that she was resigning from the Upper House.

The letter was released to the media after she met Ansari and handed over her resignation from the upper house.

“When I had begun speaking about the atrocities against Dalits, members of the ruling party (BJP) started interrupting and disturbing me. If I cannot speak for the rights of the Dalits, then I have no right to continue as a member of the Rajya Sabha,” the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Dalit leader said.

“Downheartedly, I am taking the decision to resign from the Rajya Sabha. I have dedicated my life for the uplift of the poor, Dalits, tribes, backwards, Muslims, and other minorities groups.”

She said BJP ministers created nuisance by raising their voice and shouting slogans in the house in order to disturb her while she was speaking on the important issue of atrocities against Dalits.

“Instead of pacifying the members of the ruling party, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha asked me to curtail my speech, citing it was exceeding the time limit of three minutes,” Mayawati said in her letter.

Mayawati was speaking in the Rajya Sabha about anti-Dalit violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, when Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked her to cut short her speech.

The BSP leader apprised the Deputy Chairman that there was no time limit mentioned in the rule book of Parliament and that she could not speak anything in her three-minute speech due to disturbances.

In her letter, Mayawati also mentioned that when Kurien sought to stop her, she said: “If I am not allowed to talk, if I cannot represent the section of society I belong to, if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities on Dalits, then there is no point in staying in the house. I will resign.”

Kurien did not allow her to speak further on the issue.

She also apprised the Rajya Sabha Chairman that she had resigned as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in 2003 after serving for 15 months, as she could not accept interference of the BJP ideology in the then coalition government.