Mayawati is BJP's slave, not me: Athawale

| Updated: Jul 31, 2016 18:50 IST

Mumbai, July 31 (ANI): Hitting back at Mayawati for calling him a slave of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), newly-inducted Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Sunday said that the BSP supremo was in fact the slave as she had become the chief minister thrice with the saffron party's support. "I respect Mayawati, but I do not agree with her statement. I am not BJP's slave just because I aligned with them. She herself has been BJP's slave thrice. She became the chief minister thrice because of the BJP's support," Athawale told ANI here. Swatting away Mayawati's charges that he was dividing the votes of the Dalits for political mileage, he added that he had dedicated himself to the service of the backward community. Earlier today, BJP MP Udit Raj hit out at the BSP supremo as well, asserting that she never spared any emerging Dalit leader. "Mayawati is always in the news for making statements. Has she done more work than me and Athawale towards Dalits? Whenever another Dalit leader opens his mouth, Mayawati pounces on him," Raj told ANI. A day after Athawale questioned why Mayawati did not embrace Buddhism if she claimed to be Dr B.R. Ambedkar's follower, the BSP chief hit back at him saying that he was working with an aim to achieve BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of "dividing Dalit votes and making them work as slaves of other parties". "The BJP and PM Modi have recently inducted some ministers with a slave mentality into the Cabinet. RPI's Ramdas Athawale is one of them," she said. (ANI)