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UP polls: Why the petition against Mayawati is unlikely to harm her

Panini Anand | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

The Supreme Court has accepted a petition asking for an FI R to be filed against BSP supremo Mayawati in connection with a disproportionate assets case. However, the allegations are unlikely to harm Mayawati politically.

The BSP has declared the petition, moved by Kamlesh Verma, as the latest act of political vendetta against Mayawati. Verma is said to be a former BSP member.

Read: Explained: Birth, death & re-birth of the DA case against Mayawati

Mukul Rohatgi, the advocate for the central government took a soft line on the issue. And there are enough reasons for the Union and state government as well as political parties to go soft on Mayawati, as of now.

One BSP leaders explains, "parties in the state are preparing for next year's elections. They are trying to malign her at this juncture. They think they can stop her in this way. That won't happen".

Samajwadi Party leaders refused to comment on the issue. Their standard response was that they "haven't seen the petition" and "don't know what the court has said". Even BSP leaders are not commenting on the issue on the record so far, saying that they were "unaware of the details".

But a senior party leaders explained that any move to target Mayawati would "backfire" on her rivals.

In fact, a fear of a backlash seems to be the reason why the BSP's opponents are remaining silent on the case. They know very well that Mayawati is going to play the victim card. Being seen as victimising the Dalit leader would be disastrous for any party.

Also read: CBI may come in handy for BJP to trouble Mayawati; and SP won't mind

The BJP is desperately trying to get Dalit votes. Even the RSS has been deployed to help the BJP gain ground in the community. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made attempts to appropriate BR Ambedkar and Babu Jagjivan Ram

The Congress, too, has been playing the Dalit card in the state. The SP has conducted some outreach meetings and is hopeful of getting some support from non-Jatav Dalits.

Parties are afraid that any attempt to target Mayawati might backfire

Even if the SP doesn't gain any votes from the community, they don't want a complete consolidation of Dalits behind Mayawati. Therefore, no party would want to create conditions in which Mayawati gets to play the victim.

For the last 3 sessions of Parliament, this is precisely what Mayawati has been trying to do. She has been shouting from the floor of the House that the government is using investigating agencies against her and accused them of victimising a Dalit leader.

So, what are the parties going to do now? They will wait for the Court's line on the matter. They might opt to shoot from the Court's shoulders instead of attacking Mayawati directly.

Another reason parties are remaining silent is that it seems the case is a weak one. In all likelihood, the previous ruling will be presented once again in front of the court. No one wants to become party to a lost case.

Read more- Low key birthday, no statues: meet Mayawati's new avatar

A political analyst from Lucknow says, "there is an understanding between Mayawati and the central government in this case. On the other side, SP leaders have also faced similar charges. These parties, will wait and watch".

However, it is not a fear-proof situation for BSP supremo. "This might look like an opportunity. But if anything goes against her, it would be the end of her career," the analyst explains.

Edited by Aditya Menon

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First published: 14 April 2016, 9:34 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.