New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday left squirming after a senior leader in Uttar Pradesh made derogatory remarks against BSP chief Mayawati, drawing severe all-round condemnation. Its back to the wall, the party was forced it to sack him from all posts but its regret failed to douse the uproar in Rajya Sabha, which was paralysed on the issue.
The controversy over party vice president in UP Dayashankar Singh’s statement against the Bahujan Samaj Party leader hit the party hard on a day it was already battling an opposition onslaught in parliament on vigilante violence against dalits who had skinned a dead cow in Gujarat.
“Mayawati is breaking the dream of Kanshi Ram into pieces. Mayawati is selling tickets like a [expletive],” Dayashankar Singh told reporters in Mau, Uttar Pradesh.
“Mayawati gives tickets for one crore rupees and if there is someone who can give Rs 2 crore than she sells it for Rs 2 crore within an hour. If someone is ready to give Rs 3 crore by the evening, she gives the ticket to him. She is even worse than [expletive],” said Singh, who was in Mau for the first time after becoming BJP vice president to meet party workers this morning.
Singh’s remarks drew severe flak from members in the Rajya Sabha, including women MPs, with deputy chairperson P.J. Kurien saying that the house wants the government to ensure that stringent action is taken against the BJP leader, as per law, for his “unforgivable” comments.
There was all-round condemnation of Singh for his remarks by MPs including leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, DMK’s Kanimozhi, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, Congress’s Selja and Renuka Chowdhury, T.K. Rangarajan of the CPI(M) and Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP, and demands were made for action against him.
The BJP’s leader in the house, Arun Jaitley got up to express regret saying the remarks were highly condemnable but Mayawati was not convinced and demanded that he be expelled from the party and strong action taken against him.
As the issue snowballed into a major embarrassment for the BJP, Dayashankar Singh apologised for his remarks. He claimed it was a “slip of tongue” and that he “respected” Mayawati. But it proved to be too late for Singh as state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya announced that he has been relieved of all posts and said “such language has no place in the party”.
“It is highly condemnable that a political leader uses such words against a prominent woman leader. I regret the use of such words … I personally express regret to Mayawatiji. I associate our dignity with yours and stand with you,” Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha.
A visibly agitated Mayawati, who was present in the House, thanked Jaitley and all other members for their condemnation of Singh’s remarks but demanded that BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah discuss the matter, expel Singh from the party and take action against him.
She said mere expression of regret will not suffice and added, “The whole country will not forgive the BJP… people will come on the streets.”
Mayawati said the remarks by the BJP leader reflected a “capitalistic mindset” and asserted that never in her political career had she used derogatory or personal remarks against her adversaries or questioned their character though there could be idealogical differences.
The BSP chief said she represented the most oppressed and exploited people of the country and had dedicated her whole life to them. She said the BSP always collected funds from the poor to carry forward the movement started by Kanshi Ram so that it does not have to rely on capitalists.
“On my birthday, I have told my supporters not to give me any expensive gifts like gold and jewelery but make economic contributions to the party,” she said.
Mayawati attacked the BJP, saying its anti-dalit mindset has been exposed as it has still not sacked a minister who had compared dalits to dogs, a reference to minister of state V.K. Singh.
As the uproar over the issue continued, the deputy Chairperson adjourned the house till tomorrow.
BSP MP S.C. Mishra said that the party will carry forward the issue and take legal action against Singh for his utterances under the SC/ST Act as they do not expect the government to take any action in this regard. “We will drag him to court,” he said outside parliament.
Later in Ballia, Dayashankar Singh said, “Mayawati is a big leader and came from a small family. I did not want to hurt anyone. I regret the slip of tongue. I never meant to hurt the dignity of anyone.”
The BJP has been wooing dalits, a politically crucial community in Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls early next year. The party hoped that it will be able to contain the damage by acting swiftly against Singh
Meanwhile, taking note of Dayashankar Singh’s derogatory remarks, the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh said “appropriate action” will be taken against him by the state government.
“We will take appropriate action. The party condemns such a statement which is against the dignity of a woman. This is the real character of BJP leaders,” said SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury.
“BJP should sack him from the party and also take legal action. A person who has no political courtesy should be taken care of by the BJP,” he added.