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As opposition looks to corner BJP on fuel price hike, Mayawati stumps Congress

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    Lucknow, Sep 14: BSP president Mayawati's remarks holding the previous UPA government and the BJP equally responsible for the steep hike in fuel prices has caught Congress completely by surprise. Congress leaders now feel Mayawati's comments will raise a question mark on attempts at striking an opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

    BSP supremo Mayawati

    Mayawati's views on fuel price hike came a day after her party stayed away from the "Bharat bandh" called by the Congress on the issue.

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    "These remarks, at a time when the need for unity among opposition parties is being felt clearly among all partners, could send a wrong signal both to the public and the ruling party which is already doubting our strength," a Congress insider told news agency PTI today, requesting anonymity.

    "Party workers are not happy with Mayawati's observations and they are very sceptical about her intentions," he said, adding that the central party leadership needs to take serious note of it.

    A senior Congress leader claimed that Mayawati's views on fuel price rise needs to be viewed as her bargaining tactic to get more seats for her party in the upcoming assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

    "By doing so, she is sort of trying to gain an upper hand in negotiations for the assembly seats in these states...it is, however, for the central leadership to understand that we should weigh our options and potential before entering into any alliance," he stressed.

    "Although the foundation of the intricacies of the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls will be set much before in the assembly elections in these states, the party leadership needs to be clear that its negotiations on seat sharing should not be at the cost of the party and its workers as Congress is the stronger party in these states," he said.

    Speaking on the fuel prices, Mayawati recently said that both NDA and UPA governments disregarded the interest of the farmers and the poor.

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    The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime had brought fuel out of government control and the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) continued with the policy, Mayawati said, adding that after coming to power in 2014, the NDA government had deregulated diesel, which hurt the interest of the poor.

    Mayawati's statement is largely being viewed in political circles as a dent in opposition unity against the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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