Politics

Priyanka Gandhi's Surprise Visit to Bhim Army Chief a Big Snub to Mayawati

Priyanka Gandhi's Surprise Visit to Bhim Army Chief a Big Snub to Mayawati
New Delhi: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met Bhim Army Chief and Dali leader Chandrashekhar Azad at a Meerut hospital on Wednesday, a day after he was taken into custody by the police for alleged violation of the model code of conduct.

The unscheduled visit by the Congress general secretary is being seen as a clear snub to BSP supremo Mayawati, who slammed the door on the Congress for any electoral alliance. It is also being viewed in political circles as an attempt to woo the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh and pit Azad against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

"Why so much is being read into the meeting...Congress is a political party and why would it not explore all available options to evolve a cohesive combination to counter the BJP and the SP-BSP combine?" media coordinator Rajiv Bakshi commented on the meeting.

In a blow to the prospects of an opposition grand alliance to take on the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati had on Tuesday said her party would not have an election tie-up with the Congress in any state.

Priyanka Gandhi, however, said no political motive should be imputed to her meeting with Azad.

"He is fighting for a cause. I like his struggle and no politics should be seen in the meeting," the Congress general secretary told media persons waiting anxiously outside the Meerut hospital.

"It (the meeting) should be seen with the view point that he (Azad) is a youth and is struggling and raising his voice, telling the society to listen to his problem, but this government is so arrogant that it is gagging the voice of youth. It does not want to listen to the youth...they did not give employment to them and when the voice is being raised, it should be allowed," she said.

Priyanka Gandhi did not respond to questions as to whether Azad will be fielded by the Congress in the coming elections or urged to join the party.

Talking to reporters after Gandhi left the hospital, the Bhim Army chief maintained that he did not talk about politics with the Congress leader during their meeting.

"I got to know about it (Priyanka's visit) from the media. She had come to enquire about my well-being. I am not a political person...I am struggling for the 'bahujan samaj'. She had not come to talk about politics nor did she ask me anything political," he said.

Azad was taken into custody by police on Tuesday for violating the model code of conduct, officials said.

He was detained while leading a procession that included cars and motorcycles, but was shifted to the hospital when he took ill. The code violation was allegedly over the number of vehicles in the political rally.

"I will keep fighting for the bahujan samaj till my last breath...bahujan samaj is my strength...if she (Priyanka) wants to do politics, my best wishes are with her...," the Bhim Army chief said.

Along with Priyanka Gandhi, Congress general secretary for western UP Jyotiraditya Scindia also met the Dalit leader.