Mayawati may become PM one day, says biography

May 13th, 2008 - 10:38 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) It is perhaps just a matter of time, given the “certain weariness” with the mainstream political parties, before Mayawati becomes India’s prime minister, says a new autobiography of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister released to time with the first anniversary of her fourth stint as government leader of the country’s most populous state. Written by journalist Ajoy Bose, “Behenji” (Penguin) says that there is often a subterranean current in favour of a political leader of movement that is not fully visible on the surface.

“Mayawati comprehensively proved that in Uttar Pradesh” last year by leading her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to an astonishing victory in the assembly elections, says the book.

“It is possible that she will do so again in a larger national arena. Certainly, for a long time no other leader has been talked about with as much excitement and anticipation across social strata - from upper class living rooms to working class slums.

“There is a certain weariness cutting across class and caste barriers today, with the minimalist politics practised by mainstream political parties, whether it is the Congress or the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party).

“This is why the idea of a prime minister like Mayawati appeals to more people that one would normally imagine,” says the political biography of the woman who was born into a poor family and became what she is today with aggressive mobilization of the Dalits.

“Even if Mayawati were not to make it as prime minister after (next year’s) Lok Sabha polls, she would remain a strong contender for the post in future electoral battles,” Bose says.

“With a secure bastion in the country’s largest state and an emotional stranglehold over a countrywide group like the Dalits, she has extremely strong political cards to play in an increasingly fractured polity.

“It is perhaps just a matter of time before she does become the prime minister of this country,” says the book, adding it would not be surprising if the BSP wins 50-60 seats in the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh alone in the next general election.

This, if it happens, would make her a strong contender for power nationally, more so if there were to be a badly hung parliament.

At the same time, the autobiography cautions that it would be naive to expect the BSP to replicate its successful social engineering - the coalition of Dalits and Hindu upper castes - experiment across the country.

“It is difficult to envisage the BSP getting more than 15 Lok Sabha seats beyond Uttar Pradesh in the next general elections since it would take years - perhaps decades - before the party spreads its wings all over India.

“The real challenge for Mayawati and her party if they want to grow fast is to replicate the two essential ingredients that have contributed to their success in Uttar Pradesh to several other states as well.

“One is a leader who has the courage, magnetism and political acumen to build a coalition from different segments of civil society. The other is a core constituency with a substantial vote share that consolidates en mass behind the leader and her party. It is only then that the BSP juggernaut can roll beyond the borders of Uttar Pradesh.”

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