Akhilesh Yadav claims the CBI raids and opening up “old cases” were an attempt by the BJP-led Centre to stall the SP-BSP alliance.

In an open show of solidarity loaded with political meaning ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Monday came out in support of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who could be questioned by the Central Buearu of Investigation in an alleged illegal mining case. She said Mr. Yadav was being targetted to “defame and oppress” the SP-BSP alliance.

Ms. Mayawati said the CBI’s “threats” to question Mr. Yadav “under the guise of a probe” in the illegal mining case, was an act of “election greed” issued with “feelings of political malice.”

Ms. Mayawati also said that she spoke to Mr. Yadav on the phone on Sunday and reminded him of her own alleged persecution in the Taj Corridor case after she refused to give in to the BJP’s demands for 60 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats as part of an alliance.

The BSP chief advised Mr. Yadav to not get “perturbed” by the saam, daam, dand, bhed (ancient philosopher Chanakya’s strategy of acquiring power through all means) and other machinations of the BJP.

The BJP’s “disgusting politics and election conspiracy” is nothing new, Ms. Mayawati said, warning that the party should be prepared to pay its price in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“It’s an old hathkanda (machination) about which the people know too well,” she said in a statement issued in Lucknow.

Ms. Mayawati said since it became public that the top leadership of the SP and BSP, Mr.Yadav and her, had a direct meeting, the same day, “a rattled BJP government” through the CBI conducted raids at many locations in Uttar Pradesh in a long-pending mining issue and “intentionally spread the news” of questioning Mr. Yadav.

“What is this action, if not to defame and oppress the SP-BSP alliance through political malice and election conspiracy,” Ms. Mayawati asked.

If this was not a political conspiracy, the CBI would have been allowed to hold enquiry in the case earlier, she said, while questioning the “unnecessary” and “preposterous” statements made by BJP leaders regarding the case.

“Since when did BJP ministers and its leaders become spokespersons for the CBI,” Ms. Mayawati asked.

Like the Congress, the BJP has also been an “expert” in implicating its opponents in false cases through misuse of government machinery, and the BSP movement has been a victim of this, Ms. Mayawati said.

‘BJP falsely implicated me in Taj corridor case’

“When the BSP did not agree to giving 60 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP, then they falsely implicated me in the Taj (corridor) issue, and as a result, keeping in mind the larger interest of the BSP movement, on August 26, 2003, I had resigned from the post of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister,” said Ms. Mayawati.

And in 2007, the people took sood samet badla (revenge) and the BSP made its first full-majority government in the State, Ms. Mayawati said.

The BSP chief’s strong statement against the BJP came a day after Mr. Yadav also questioned the timing and intention behind the CBI linking his name to the probe in an illegal mining case.

Samajwadi Party chief on Sunday said the “BJP has shown its true colours.”

Ready for probe: Akhilesh Yadav

Mr. Yadav suggested the raids by the CBI by opening up “old cases” were an attempt by the BJP-led Centre to stall the SP-BSP alliance. The two parties along with the RLD are close to formally announcing an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

“The Samajwadi Party is trying to win as many Lok Sabha seats as it can. Possibly the CBI or the government that runs the CBI is trying to…What do we have? We can form an alliance and go to the people. And those who want to stop [us], what do they have? They have the CBI,” Mr. Yadav told reporters in Lucknow.

Mr. Yadav, who served as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017 and held additional portfolios of mining in 2012 and 2013, also said he was ready to be questioned by the probe agency.

“If they question us, we will have to answer. We will give them an answer. But the people of the country are ready to give an answer to the BJP,” said Mr. Yadav.

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