Dalit leader Mayawati on Sunday accused the "casteist" BJP and the Congress of trying to "abolish" the reservation system while campaigning for Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. Mayawati's BSP is contesting the Chhattisgarh elections in alliance with the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC-J) of former Congress chief minister Ajit Jogi.
Addressing a rally in Taraud village in the Akaltara constituency in Janjgir-Champa, Mayawati alleged both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had worked towards making reservation "ineffective" and were trying to gradually "abolish" it.
"Dalits, adivasis and the other backward castes have been getting the benefits of reservation, particularly in government jobs, as a result of the efforts of B.R. Ambedkar," Mayawati said.
She accused the Congress and the BJP of having a "casteist mentality".
"Right from the beginning, those parties had a casteist mentality... They have worked towards making reservation ineffective and [are trying to] gradually abolish it," Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, said.
The BSP is contesting the election—to be held in two phases on November 12 and 20—in alliance with the JCC-J and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Of the 90 assembly seats in Chhattisgarh, the BSP will contest 33, the JCC-J 55 and the CPI two.
Ajit Jogi has been named as the chief ministerial candidate of the coalition. His daughter-in-law, Richa Jogi, is contesting from the Akaltara seat on a BSP ticket.
"The Congress was in power for a long time in the country. Now, the incumbent BJP governments at the Centre and in the state have failed to fully comply with the quota norms as provisioned in the reservation policy. A similar situation is prevailing in Chhattisgarh as well," Mayawati said.
She also accused the Congress and the BJP of having an "internal nexus" to make reservations in job promotions for dalits and tribals "ineffective up to a great extent".
Mayawati further said the BSP had fought for reservation inside Parliament and on the streets, apart from running a campaign for implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission to ensure a quota for the OBCs.
Mayawati also lashed out at the BJP and the Congress over the SCs, STs and OBCs not getting reservation in the private sector.
"If the coalition of the BSP, JCC-J and CPI comes to power in Chhattisgarh, it will do its best to ensure Adivasis, dalits, backwards, minorities, labourers and farmers get their rights. Uplift of the poor, farmers, labourers, tribals and dalits is only possible in the state when this alliance comes to power. They will be able to lead a life with respect and dignity, besides Naxalism will also be contained," Mayawati said.
Eighteen constituencies in the eight Naxalite-affected districts of Chhattisgarh will go to the polls on November 12 and the rest in the second phase on November 20.
The results will be declared on December 11.
In the 2013 state Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, the Congress 39 and the BSP and an independent candidate had won one seat each.
SCs account for around 12 per cent of the population of Chhattisgarh.
Triangular fights among the BJP, Congress and the BSP-JCC(J)-CPI coalition are expected in the Bilaspur division.