Even Kanshi had not foreseen Mayawati as PM

July 23rd, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party
By Sharat Pradhan
Lucknow, July 23 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati may have suddenly emerged as a contender for the country’s top job but even her guide, philosopher and political mentor Kanshi Ram had not thought she would travel this far. Even when Kanshi Ram named her as his only successor despite much opposition from within the party, no one had imagined that Mayawati would one day end up as a national figure commanding the support of older political parties and many of their veteran leaders.

Twenty-four years ago, when she first appeared on the political horizon of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati was counted among the hangers-on of Kanshi Ram, who was then known as an ex-government employee struggling to form a party of Dalits after organising backward and Scheduled Caste central government employees under a common banner.

In the mid-90s, when she pulled the rug from under the feet of her then ally Mulayam Singh Yadav, she came to be called one of the wonders of Indian politics. Since then, she has never looked back.

And despite periodic desertions from BSP, the party grew and grew, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state where Mayawati became the chief minister in May 2007 after leading the BSP to a spectacular win.

Mayawati acquired the killer instinct from none other than Kanshi Ram, who taught her how to exploit each and every opportunity to accelerate the party’s march.

Soon after he succeeded in getting her installed as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister for the first time, Kanshi Ram told a mammoth public rally: “When I first met Mayawati and asked her about her ambition in life, she said she wanted to be a DM (district magistrate). But I told her I will make you CM (chief minister) one day and then you will have DMs dancing to your tune.”

Kanshi Ram often proudly repeated this at party rallies and press conferences. And the second time she became chief minister, he went to the extent of declaring: “Dekho maine tumhe maharani bana diya!” (See, I have made you the queen!)

But never did her mentor even remotely suggest or visualise her role at the helm of affairs of the country. Even if he had conceived her rise to those heights, he never made any public display of his dreams.

Today, Mayawati has become tall enough to get the support of political outfits such as the Telugu Desam Party, the Janata Dal-Secular and the Communist Party of India (CPI) who say they will be happy to see her crowned as India’s prime minister. That did not happen Tuesday, when the government won a crucial trust vote in parliament, but it will be the start of another long march.

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