Exactly 29 years ago, when she was just out of college and busy preparing for civil services, Mayawati was told by a man she considered her friend, philosopher and guide: "So you wish to become DM (district magistrate)? Follow my path and you will become CM one day."
This guide was none other than Kanshi Ram, who was then emerging as a potent Dalit leader. He encouraged the then 21-year-old Mayawati to get actively associated with his movement.
His words were prophetic. The daughter of a small time employee of the Post and Telegraph department followed the advice and became chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). She has led her party to an enviable victory in the Uttar Pradesh polls and is now poised to become the chief minister -- for the fourth time.