BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday accused Union Minister Ramdas Athawale of playing into the hands of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and "harming" the interests of Dalits.
"With a view to divide Dalit votes and make them work as subordinates to other parties, the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have recently inducted some ministers with a slave mentality into the cabinet. RPI's Ramdas Athawale is one of them," she said in a party release.
Taking strong exception to Athawale's assertion that "if Mayawati is a true Ambedkarite, why is she still a Hindu and not converted to Buddhism", the BSP supremo said he made those observations "out of ignorance with the aim of provoking the people".
Explaining the logic behind Ambedkar converting to Buddhism only in the last phase of his life as also BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Mayawati alleged that sensing an impending reversal of fortunes in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the BJP was indulging in "politics in the name of religion" and that is why, it had recently started the 'Baudh Dharma Yatra'.
She alleged that Buddhism was praised by the RSS and Modi to serve their "political interests", adding that they, however, acted "against its teachings and patronised those committing atrocities on its followers".
She urged the people of Uttar Pradesh to defeat this "design" of dividing Dalit votes in the upcoming polls.
The BSP supremo said Athawale, also a Dalit leader from Maharashtra, who questioned atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat in the name of cow protection, should seek a reply to his query "from the leader of his government, Modi".