Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Thursday said that election of Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress president shows that the party makes Dalits scapegoats in its tough times.

On Wednesday, Kharge won the Congress presidential elections against Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor. The 80-year-old leader from Karnataka will take over on October 26 as the first non-Gandhi Congress president in over two decades.

Kharge is also the third Dalit leader to become the Congress president in the party’s 138-year-old history. In 1962, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Damodaram Sanjivayya was the first Dalit to become Congress president. Following the split of the Congress in 1969, Jagjivan Ram became president of the faction of Congress headed by Indira Gandhi.

On Thursday, Mayawati accused the the Congress party of ignoring the marginalised communities.

“The history of the Congress shows that it has always neglected/disdained the messiah of the downtrodden Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and his community,” Mayawati wrote in a tweet. “This party does not show concern for the safety and honour of Dalits in its good days, but makes them a scapegoat during their bad days.”

Mayawati also alleged that the Congress promotes non-Dalit persons when it is in power, but uses Dalits when its not. “Isn’t this politics of deceit?” Mayawati asked. “People wonder if this is the real love of the Congress towards Dalits.”

In his first speech as the Congress president on Wednesday, Kharge had said that the party will unitedly fight against the “fascist forces” attacking the country’s institutions under the garb of communalism.

“We have to fight against these destructive forces,” Kharge said, referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We will have to fight from the streets to Parliament and booth-level workers will have struggle more.”