Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, May 12, asked why Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati did not withdraw support to the ruling Congress in Rajasthan after a Dalit woman was gang-raped in front of her husband in Alwar on April 26.
Addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar, PM Modi said: "A Dalit girl was gang-raped in Rajasthan which is being ruled by the 'naamdar' (Congress) with the support of BSP. Both the parties are trying to suppress the matter. The daughters of this state are asking 'behenji' why hasn't she taken back her support to the Congress after the incident."
Modi added: "Had the intentions of the Congress been right, they would have never tried to hide the case. But they have only one answer: 'It happened, so what?'"
In response, Mayawati alleged that PM Modi is doing "dirty politics" over the gang-rape of a Dalit girl in Alwar. The former chief minister also assured of action by her party in the matter. Modi countered by saying she is shedding "crocodile tears by only making statements".
On April 26, the Dalit woman was riding pillion on a motorcycle with her husband when the accused, who were on two bikes, waylaid them and took them to a field. They allegedly thrashed the husband and raped the woman in front of him.
The woman informed authorities of the crime on April 30 but the police failed to act till May 7, leading her husband to claim they did so because of the election; the state voted across two phases - April 29 and May 6 - of the ongoing general election.
Five people have been arrested in connection with the crime and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has promised a quick trial.
Kushinagar, where the Prime Minister was speaking, votes on May 19 in the last of seven phases of this Lok Sabha 2019 election. Final results will be declared on May 23.
(With inputs from agencies)