Former Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed her readiness to join hands with the Samajwadi Party led by former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, whom she once described as her "main enemy". She now says she will align with anybody to defeat the BJP. Excerpts from an interview she gave Venkitesh Ramakrishnan:
Six months ago, you were confident that there would be no problems with the BJP-BSP coalition, but it has collapsed. What went wrong?
The alliance was the result of an understanding between the national leaders of the two parties. Kalyan Singh was opposed to the coalition from Day One. When he became Chief Minister, he embarked on a premeditated operation to wreck the alliance. Not only was there an attempt to undo all the good work done by the Mayawati Government but he and BJP State president Rajnath Singh also made efforts to split the BSP. They even publicly insulted the BSP and the Dalit masses. Though sections of the BJP were opposed to these moves, they were not able to check Kalyan Singh. In this situation we decided that there could be no compromise with regard to the self-respect of the Dalit masses and withdrew our support.
Your decision to withdraw support was apparently preceded by an understanding with sections of the United Front and the Congress(I) that Kalyan Singh would not be allowed to continue in office. There are accusations that the BSP and the Congress(I) triggered the violence in the Assembly because their plan was not working.
There was no understanding with anybody before we withdrew support. We took that step to protect the self-respect of Dalit masses. And we did not start the violence in the Assembly. We were peacefully demanding lobby division when the BJP started the attack. Plainclothes policemen and outsiders masquerading as legislators beat up Opposition MLAs and drove them out of the House. In fact, I was one of their targets. I have information that the some BJP leaders wanted to liquidate me.
Kalyan Singh says that the BSP withdrew its support because of the inquiry into corruption charges against you.
He can say anything he wants to and I am ready to face any inquiry. This is a deliberate attempt to insult the Dalit masses and their leaders. The BJP was part of my Government and throughout those six months no BJP leader, including Kalyan Singh, raised a single complaint. My party and our supporters as well as the people know the truth; they know how well I have served the State.
Many BSP MLAs have gone over to the BJP, and more are expected to cross over. Their complaint is that you were dictatorial.
The dirt of the party has gone to the dustbin.
There appears to be a new-found cooperation between the S.P. and the BSP. Is this the beginning of a new alliance?
The BSP and the S.P. have joined hands to protect democracy in the State. It is too early to say whether this is the beginning of a new alliance. But the BSP will try to unite all progressive and democratic forces against the BJP, the butchers of democracy.
But till recently, you and S.P. leaders were calling each other names.
Those are things of the past. In any case, the S.P. has shown that it is better than the BJP. It is not that we do not have differences with the S.P. But, in the present context, the communal and vile BJP is our Number One enemy.
There are reports that you and BSP leader Kanshi Ram do not agree on many issues, including your going soft on the S.P.
Many people have tried to create differences between Mayawati and the respected Kanshi Ramji. But they have all miserably failed. Respected Kanshi Ramji is the unquestioned leader of the Dalit and oppressed masses of the country. And he knows best what political course will mitigate the sufferings of the oppressed and exploited classes.