Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Thursday alleged that the BJP was trying to “communalise” the raging controversy over derogatory remarks by targeting her top aide and Muslim face of her party Nasimuddin Siddiqui.

Apart from being “casteist and two-faced” the BJP is making all efforts to communalise the issue for electoral benefit, Ms. Mayawati said, as BJP Mahila Morcha activists staged a demonstration in Lucknow demanding Mr. Siddiqui’s arrest. Along with Ms. Mayawati and two other top leaders, Mr. Siddiqui, BSP general secretary, was booked for allegedly using sexist remarks against expelled BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh’s wife and daughter at a protest recently in Lucknow.

In its protests and public posturing, the BJP has, however, mainly demanded action against Mr. Siddiqui, with little mention of other BSP leaders. Ms. Mayawati argued Mr. Siddiqui was being singled out and specially “targeted” through demands for his arrest. “It is natural for people to wonder why the BJP is leaving aside all other people named in the FIR, and only demanding the arrest of Nasimuddin Siddiqui? This is when, unlike BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh, none of the BSP leaders used derogatory and objectionable comments,” Ms. Mayawati said.

Under the banner ‘Mahilaon ke Samman Mein, BJP Maidan Mein’ (BJP to fight for women’s honour), the party’s women workers took to the streets demanding action against Mr. Siddiqui. They tried to march in a procession to the Raj Bhawan here but were prevented from doing so by police. The BJP claimed its workers were manhandled and ill-treated by police and that several of its women workers were injured in the police action. BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya alleged the police action against his party workers reflected the tacit understanding between the SP and the BSP — bua-bhatija, or aunt and nephew (a reference to Ms. Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav).

“The BJP will not tolerate at any cost the derogatory comments by BSP leaders under the leadership of Nasimuddin Siddiqui against the women, sister, wife and daughter of former BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh. For the BJP, a daughter is a daughter and the party has always stood up for their honour,” Mr. Maurya said.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court has rejected Daya Shankar Singh’s anticipatory bail after a CJM court issued a non-bailable warrant against him over his derogatory remark against Ms. Mayawati. Ms. Mayawati said the SP government was not interested in arresting him and said the police search for him was only an “eyewash.” “He is giving interview to the media in BJP-ruled Jharkhand. The protest by BJP’s Mahila Morcha is only to cover up his act,” the former UP CM said.

The BJP, in a counter attack, questioned the lack of action by the SP government against BSP leaders booked in the case, singling out Mr. Siddiqui. Mr. Maurya said the SP gpvernment’s “soft stand” against Mr. Siddiqui for political reasons exposed its “anti-women nature.”

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