Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched a frontal attack on Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati, saying she was unlike her mentor and party founder Kanshi Ram, who "did a lot for Dalits".
Addressing a Dalit convention called by the Congress' state unit, he also accused the BSP chief of not allowing Dalit leadership to come up in Uttar Pradesh and in her own party. "She never allowed any one from the Dalits to come up, out of fear," he said, adding this provided a huge opportunity for the Congress to fill in the vacuum. "Dalits have always been looking upto the Congress and we are committed to changing their pitiable condition in Uttar Pradesh," he assured the gathering.
With the rise of regional players like the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP, the Congress was pushed to the sidelines in the state and the Dalit convention is being seen as an attempt by the party to rally the community behind it. Congress recently surprised many in the state when it won the Deoband seat in Saharanpur in the bypoll.