Controversial statement

BSP chief Mayawati is under the scanner of the election commission for the controversial speech she made at Deoband, UP, on Sunday. She reportedly asked the Muslims not to vote for the Congress and vote only for the grand alliance consisting of the SP, the BSP and the RLD. The Muslim vote is expected to be one of the deciding factors in this election as they constitute 14% of the country’s population. Ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre, the community has been facing the brunt of attacks from right-wing groups, especially in the Hindi heartland states like UP. Mayawati’s statement is communal in nature and will only help the BJP to polarize the Hindu voters.
The speech of Mayawati is strange, considering the fact that everyone knows that such an appeal is bound to backfire as the BJP will use it to polarize the Hindu voters. The saffron party has been trying to portray the grand alliance and the Congress as pro-Muslim parties. This helps them to consolidate the Hindu votes. One wonders whether Mayawati is playing to the tune of the BJP because of the various cases against her. The opposition for long has been suspicious of her, fearing that the BJP may have compromised her, using the CBI and other agencies. The election commission is expected to take note of her speech and most probably will take action. But the grand alliance leaders should also be careful about their campaign strategies. If they use the religious angle, the BJP will have the advantage. Issues like job and economy are the weak links of the saffron party; therefore the opposition parties should concentrate on these two issues.