Giving her own twist to a recent remark by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday said her party wanted both Ali and Bajrang Bali — particularly Bajrang Bali as the deity is "linked with my own Dalit caste".
Addressing a rally in Badaun, Mayawati recalled Adityanath's comment on Tuesday in which he referred to her earlier appeal to Muslims to vote for the Opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh. The Chief Minister had said if Ali is with the BSP-SP-RLD alliance, then Bajrang Bali is with the BJP.
"In this connection, I want to tell him (Adityanath) that both Ali and Bajrang Bali are ours.... So we want both Ali as well as Bajrang Bali," she said.
Ali is a revered figure in Islam and Lord Hanuman is often called Bajrang Bali. Both Mayawati and Adityanath were served notices by the Election Commission over their remarks.
"We particularly want Bajrang Bali because he is linked to my own Dalit caste," Mayawati said. The BSP chief was apparently referring to Adityanath's comments last year when he had described Lord Hanuman as a forest dweller and a Dalit.
"I am very thankful to Yogi ji that he has given us an important information about our ancestors. So, it is a very happy moment to note that we have both Ali and Bajrang Bali, and their coming together will give us very good results in these elections," she said.
"In the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi's party (BJP) will neither get the votes of Ali nor Bajrang Bali, who is associated with my caste," she said.
Mayawati was addressing a rally of the BSP-SP-RLD alliance in favour of Samajwadi Party nominee Dharmendra Yadav for the Badaun Lok Sabha seat, where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was also present.
"In these elections, the NaMo NaMo people are going out of power and the Jai Bhim ones are coming, which is also the need of the country." NaMo is an acronym for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jai Bhim is the slogan used by followers of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar.
The BSP president said Dalits have long left the Congress and also the BJP.
"After Independence, for a long time, both at the Centre and states, there had been Congress governments.... It was the wrong policies and working of the Congress that forced it out of power," Mayawati said.
Similarly, she said, in the ongoing election, the BJP will be thrown out of power because of its pro-RSS, "casteist, capitalist, communal and narrow mindset", besides alleged wrong policies and wrong-doings.