Mayawati has given no signal on whether she would include the Congress in the alliance in UP. (File)
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati – who bailed out the Congress after it fell a whisker short of majority in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – today set a condition to keep the party in line. Mayawati said she would "reconsider" her support if the cases filed in the two states against the "innocent" during April's all-India strike by Scheduled Castes are not withdrawn. The Congress, she said, should not work like the BJP, which did not keep its promises.
Announcing her condition in a press release, Mayawati said, "The warning to the Congress is necessary, as now merely making announcements is not enough. People are of the view that in making promises on papers, the Congress and the BJP are two sides of the same coin. Now, it depends on the Congress whether it is able to change this perception".
The Congress had supported the April protests – against the changes to the law meant protect Scheduled Castes and Tribes – that saw widespread violence in parts of north India.
Kamal Nath's Congress government in Madhya Pradesh needs the support of Mayawati's party for a majority in the assembly.
Rahul Gandhi, who is now the party chief, had tweeted: "Our Dalit brothers and sisters are today on the streets demanding protection of their rights from the Modi Government. We salute them."
The Uttar Pradesh leader, after ruling out a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, had reluctantly extended support to the party after the recent round of assembly elections to keep the BJP out of power in the two states. Her support in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the largest number of lawmakers to parliament, is also crucial if the opposition front against the BJP is to succeed.
While Mayawati has kept the door ajar for 2019, lately she has given no signal on whether she would include the Congress in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
Her ally in the state, Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav, has been more forthcoming the Congress prospects, indicating there might be none.
The former Chief Minister, who has also supported the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, was upset over the exclusion of his lone lawmaker from the government of Chief Minister Kamal Nath. The Congress, he said, had gone back on its promise to do so.
"Thanks to the Congress, they did not make our vidhayak (legislator) a minister," Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters last week. By doing so, the Congress had "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh," he said, hinting at a payback.