Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Aazad has accused the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party of going soft against the Centre due to the fear of central investigation agencies, PTI reported on Sunday.

“When you have cases of CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation], ED [Enforcement Directorate], you are caught in the stranglehold of the Centre and you cannot put forward your views strongly,” Aazad told the news agency. “There are several such cases [on Mayawati] and also her brother.”

Aazad asserted that the BSP had lost its identity and accused the party of ignoring the principles of its founder, Dalit leader Kanshi Ram. Instead, the Bhim Army chief pitched the Aazad Samaj Party, the political outfit he formed last year, as an alternative to represent Dalits, PTI reported.

“We have given an alternative to the people and showed our mettle with our work on the ground,” he said. “We pledge to be with people before and after elections.”

Despite pointing out that the BSP’s performance has been on a decline since the 2012 Assembly Polls in Uttar Pradesh, Aazad said that his party was ready to forge alliances with all anti-Bharatiya Janata Party forces for the state elections next year.

The BJP and its allies had won 325 out of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 elections, while Mayawati’s party finished third with 19 seats.

“Our efforts are directed at forging a grand alliance to take on the BJP for the sake of the people,” the 34-year old said, stressing on the need for a common minimum programme. “This misrule must come to an end. So a grand alliance should be formed to stop the BJP.”

Besides the BSP, Aazad voiced his intention to ally with the Congress as well. “I don’t have a personal problem [with the Congress],” Aazad said. “All those who believe that the BJP must be stopped and that it has harmed the state, they must come together.”

He, however, added that the Aazad Samaj Party has not finalised any alliance yet for the Uttar Pradesh elections. He said that the party was in talks with all Opposition parties and a decision will be taken on the matter by the outfit’s core committee.

Aazad had launched the Aazad Samaj Party in March 2020. At the launch, Aazad had said that his party will run parallel to the BSP and fight for Dalit rights.