BSP chief Mayawati on Friday attacked the Samajwadi Party, saying it should not "insult" the marginalised sections of society by calling them "Shudra".
She also asserted that the Constitution of India is the book of the weaker and marginalised sections of the society, and not the Ramcharitmanas and Manusmriti.
Mayawati's remarks came a day after senior Samajwadi Party leader and national general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya said only women and Shudras can feel the pain of the "derogatory" remarks made against them in the guise of religion. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Mayawati said, "Ramcharitmanas and Manusmriti are not the books of the weaker and marginalised section of society, but it is the Constitution of India, in which Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar had not called them as Shudra, but as SC, ST and OBC. Therefore, the Samajwadi Party should not insult them by calling them as Shudra, nor they should defy the Constitution."
"In the matter of disregard ('upekshaa') and contempt ('tiraskaar') of great saints, gurus and eminent personalities, parties like the Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party are no less than anyone," Mayawati. "Also before advocating for them, the SP chief must remember the incident of June 2, 1995 at the State Guest House in Lucknow, where a daughter of a Dalit, who was going to become a chief minister, was attacked during the Samajwadi Party government. The attack was fatal," she said.
The BSP chief also said that it is well-known that the self-respect of the SC, ST, OBC, Muslims and religious minorities is always safe in the BSP. The other parties are trying to win their votes by different types of dramatisation, she charged. Maurya, a prominent OBC leader in Uttar Pradesh, recently made headlines for his comments on Ramcharitmanas, saying that its certain verses "insult" a large section of the society on the basis of caste and demanded that those be "banned".
He compared the pain of women and Shudras with that of Mahatma Gandhi after he was thrown out of a train by Britishers. "The pain caused by the insult and misbehaviour the British had meted out to Gandhiji on a train by saying 'Indians are dogs' was only felt by him. Similarly, the pain caused by the derogatory comments made against women and Shudras in the guise of religion are only felt by them," Maurya had said in a tweet in Hindi on Thursday.
A cabinet minister in the previous BJP government in the state, Maurya had resigned and joined the SP before the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. He contested the election from the Fazilnagar Assembly seat in the Kushinagar district but lost. He was later sent to the legislative council by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
On January 24, an FIR was registered against Maurya at the Hazratganj police station over his controversial comments on the Ramcharitmanas, police said. Another FIR was registered against Maurya and others on January 29 at the PGI police station.