Mysuru: BSP chief Mayawati made JD (S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda and state unit president H D Kumaraswamy wait for more than three hours before she arrived at a joint rally of BSP-JD (S) where the top brass of JD (S) could only rustle up a small crowd of 5,000 people instead of the promised 15,000 here on Wednesday.
The delay in her arrival set off speculation that leaders of other parties were exerting pressure on her to call off the pre-poll alliance with JD (S) after they were accused of forging a secret deal with the BJP.
Ms Mayawati arrived in Mysuru on Wednesday afternoon and held a meeting with Mr H D Deve Gowda in a private hotel followed by discussions with Dalit leaders.
While Mr Deve Gowda and Mr Kumaraswamy arrived at the venue of the rally and finished their speeches, she did not show up, resulting in anxious moments for these leaders. Mr Kumaraswamy's statement added fuel to the speculation.
"Though several forces had tried to feed negative information to Ms Mayawati and misled her that JD (S) would join hands with the BJP, she has trusted us and come to support us. We will not join hands with anybody," he added.
On the poor turnout at the rally, Mr Deve Gowda admitted "Party workers have not participated in the rally as per our expectation. Our candidates could not get involved in organising the event as they are busy with scrutiny of nominations. It should be understood. We have already proved our strength in Kumaraparva at Chamundeswari constituency, which has led to jealousy," he added.
In her address, Ms Mayawati targeted the Congress and BJP alleging that these parties had failed to protect the interest of Dalits, tribals, OBCs, minorities, the poor and farmers. She urged people to vote for the JD(S)- BSP alliance and thus protect their interests.
She remakred "Mr Narendra Modi says "na khaunga na khane dunga" but it was during his term Neerav Modi, Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya swindled funds. And with his support they are making merry abroad. Farmers are in a crisis. With GST and demonetization, the country's economy has suffered, poverty has increased. Mr Narendra Modi has failed to alleviate poverty," she added.
She reminded the audience that the Congress and BJP were against implementation of Mandal commission report.
Though the Congress ruled for long term post independence the leaders failed to confer Bharat Rathna on Dr B R Ambedkar.
When the BSP extended its support with conditions to implement Mandal Commission report and confer Bharath Rathna on Dr B R Ambedkar, the late Mr V P Singh who became Prime Minister implemented Mandal Commission report and conferred Bharat Rathna on Dr Ambedkar.
Mr H D Devegowda said, "Elections (on May 12) are a fight between money power and people's power. It is not possible for us to display money power. So we have to work together to ensure JD(S) holds power without the support of BJP or Congress. The BSP has contested only 20 seats in state and they have given up others for JD (S). Telengana and Andra Pradesh CMs have extended their support to JD (S) and they have directed Telugu speaking people in Karnataka to vote for JD (S). We can win 9 to 10 seats in Mysuru," he added.