Dalit icon and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s competition with Congress president Sonia Gandhi has gone beyond politics.
The BSP leader has made a debut on Forbes magazine’s list of 100 most powerful women in the world, and has been credited with pushing Sonia to 21st rank, down from last year’s sixth.
The US magazine said it measured “power as a composite of public profile -calculated using press mentions - and financial heft.” Maya is ranked 59th in the elite club.
Sonia’s slide is directly attributed to Maya’s rise. “Although she (Sonia) remains firmly at the head of the country’s ruling party, a rising star, known by the single name Mayawati, is challenging Gandhi's position as the most powerful woman,” the magazine said. "Mayawati has aligned herself with the ...BJP party and joined its members in vociferously opposing Gandhi's party's historic agreements with the US on nuclear cooperation.
Recalling that Maya was the youngest chief minister, Forbes said: “Some day, she could trail-blaze again as India's first Dalit prime minister.”