Accusing the Congress of being anti-Dalit, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Monday said her party will stage demonstrations against the Women's Reservation Bill across the country on April 14.
"The Congress and other political parties have always been against Dalits and this is evident from the fact that no separate quota has been carved out for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe women in the 33 per cent reservation proposed in the Women's Reservation Bill," Mayawati said while addressing a rally in Lucknow to mark the party's silver jubilee function.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister claimed that her party boycotted the passage of the Bill in Parliament to register its protest.
"The BSP will stage a demonstration at district headquarters across the country on the birth anniversary of Ambedkar on April 14 to protest the bill," she announced. Mayawati claimed that even the BSP's suggestion of a separate quota for backward and poor women was not incorporated in the Bill.
"Congress people claim that they are the biggest sympathisers of women and are praising (Congress leaders) Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. In reality, whatever rights women have got in the field of education, employment and politics, it is due to Ambedkar," she said.
The BSP's silver jubilee celebrations also mark the birth anniversary of party founder Kanshiram. Mayawati's party, like the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, opposes the Women Reservation's Bill in its present form and seeks quota within quota for SC/ST women in it.
Mayawati said it was Ambedkar who for the first time provided equal opportunities to women in the Constitution.
"Another evidence of the Congress being anti-Dalit came to the fore when the Centre did not announce even a single day of mourning after the death of Kanshiram, who devoted his entire life for the upliftment of SC/ST and the downtrodden," she alleged.
Taking a potshot at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to Dalit houses, she said it was a 'drama'. "Congress and other party leaders, who have been staging this drama of visiting houses of Dalits and sharing food with them, have been exposed," she alleged.
Mayawati said that casteism prevented people from SC/ST and backward communities to lead a dignified and equitable life in the country. They did not have rights of education, to contest elections and lead a dignified life like people of other castes, she said.
"It was due to Ambedkar that people from SC/ST and backward groups got legal rights to lead an equitable life, which was strongly opposed by the Congress and other parties, and which has continued till date," the BSP leader added.
Mayawati said the Women's Reservation Bill was an example of the anti-Dalit mentality of the Congress and other political parties.