- July 8, 2016
Mayawati has been the CM of India’s most populous state – Uttar Pradesh (UP) and commanded a majority, when many other states were dependent on coalitions with other parties. As a result of her dominance in UP (which returns the largest number of MPs to Delhi), she came into national prominence as messiah of Dalits, poor and downtrodden. Her potential was spotted by the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and from then onwards, she’s never looked back. She is fondly called “behenji”.
Image credit: www.charminartimes.in
10 interesting facts about her:
1. She was born in Delhi to parents from the Dalit caste and went on to pursue a career as a teacher. Mayawati grew up reading books about Dr BR Ambedkar.
2. In 1995, at the tender age of 39, she become one of India’s youngest Chief Ministers and whilst her tenure was short lived, she came to the fore and registered herself as a future contender, which she’s lived up to becoming.
3. At Kanshi Ram’s funeral ceremonies in 2006, Mayawati said they had both been following Buddhist traditions and customs. Her act of performing the last rites of Kanshi Ram has set an example of her and Kanshi Ram’s views against gender discrimination. She said that she will convert to Buddhism after getting an absolute majority at the Centre.
4. Mayawati’s rise from humble beginnings has been called a “miracle of democracy” by P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Prime Minister of India.
5. In 2010 she declared assets worth Rs 88 crore, an increase in Rs 36 crore from 2007. In the 2007 legislative council elections, Mayawati had declared her assets were worth Rs 52 crore. So numerically speaking her financial growth has been at the rate of Rs 1 crore a month.
6. Mayawati is the highest income-tax payer among all politicians in India paying Rs 26 crore for year 2007-08. Its also claimed that in 2007 – 08, she paid more income tax that India’s richest businessman – Mukesh Ambani! Who say’s politics doesn’t pay?
7. In 2008, Forbes added Mayawati in the 59th place on its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world and Time magazine included Mayawati in India‘s 15 Most Influential list for 2007.
8. She appeared in Newsweek’s top woman achievers list in 2007. Newsweek also described her as the Barack Obama of India, and a potential candidate for Prime Minister.
9. Apparently, with a focus on bursting onto the national scene, she’s been taking advice on her image, having English tuition, and socializing with Delhi types on a more regular basis! Not leaving any stone unturned.
10. It has been seen that on her birthday, her cake weighs the same as her age. But even with the grand celebration going on, she makes sure to help out the other communities in need as she did during one of her birthday celebrations.
In terms of opportunism, all she’s concerned with is obtaining office. She’s thrown her lot with the BJP and the Congress when its suited her.
Mayawati is a former schoolteacher, has a degree in law, and got her oily ponytail cut into a boy-cut as part of building her image as the Iron Lady of Lucknow. She has marketed herself to dalit voters by telling them she is one of them — an outcast whose rise to the highest post is to be seen as a symbol of the elevation of all dalits. She can’t wait for posterity to install her statues: she wants them now…