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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali, who was abused by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in Lok Sabha during a debate on Chandrayaan 3’s success. After meeting the BSP MP, Gandhi said: “Nafrat Ke Bazaar Me Mohabbat ki Dukan (In the market of hate, a shop of love).” The Congress was also accompanied by KC Venugopal.
While Ali terms the visit a “moral building” effort, political experts see more than what meets the eyes. Danish Ali belongs to Mayawati’s BSP, who is not part of Opposition’s INDIA bloc. The BSP Supremo has announced to fight the Lok Sabha elections on its own.
However, the fact that she has not joined the NDA keeps the INDIA bloc doors open for her, even as she refused to be a part of it. Leaders of several other Opposition parties who are part of the INDIA bloc have also expressed their solidarity with the BSP MLA.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, requesting him to take stringent action as per the rules against Ramesh Bidhuri.
NCP MP Supriya Sule and TMC MP Aparupa Poddar have written to the Secretary-General Lok Sabha to initiate a privilege motion against the Bidhuri for his unparliamentary remarks against Ali. The DMK has also written to Speaker Om Birla with a similar demand.
The INDIA bloc parties, according to political pundits, are trying to use the Ramesh Bidhuri incident to bring Mayawati on board their alliance. While Mayawati’s BSP is a major player in Uttar Pradesh, it has a sizeable presence in several other states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar.
In these states, the BSP manages to win a few seats on its own. And if the BSP joins the INDIA bloc, it might help the opposition in accumulating the SC/ST votes. The massive support to Ali is being seen as a message from Opposition to Mayawati.
The fact that the BJP has also issued a show-cause notice against its own MP makes the situation even more interesting. The saffron party has several leaders who often cross the line when it comes to Muslims.
Several BJP leaders have gone against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ approach and spoken against the community. However, they were termed “fringe elements” by the party.
The BJP also knows that even if Mayawati doesn’t formally join the NDA, she will help their cause by cutting into the Opposition’s vote bank. Thus, the party doesn’t want to take the risk of upsetting Mayawati.