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Mayawati

School-teacher-turned politician Mayawati, who became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time in seven years in February 2002, has worked assiduously to shed the image of being just a Dalit leader after making inroads into the upper caste bastion in the 2002 elections.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2004 15:07 IST

FACTFILE
 Date of Birth: January 15, 1956



Place of birth: Delhi



Father: Prabhu Dayal



Education: Graduation (B.A) from Kalindi College, Delhi University, Post Graduation LLB, Delhi University

 

India's first Dalit chief minister, and that too in politically most important state of Uttar Pradesh, at first glance Mayawati seems an unlikely candidate for such distinctions, but she has unmatched qualities. No longer the CM and currently facing graft charges in Taj Corridor Project case, she still continues to a major force in UP, even bigger than BJP.

In a relatively short political career, she has reached a position where other political parties have been forced to bargain with this feisty Bahujan Samaj Party leader.

School-teacher-turned politician Mayawati, who became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time in seven years in February 2002, has worked assiduously to shed the image of being just a Dalit leader after making inroads into the upper caste bastion in the 2002 elections.

Having been the chief minister for not more than six months before, 49-year-old Mayawati has been pitchforked to head the most populous and politically sensitive state as she expanded her voter base to help her Bahujan Samaj Party gain wider acceptability.

Often dubbed enigmatic, Mayawati, who shares her birthday (January 15) with American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, had once aspired to join the civil services after her college but she was drawn towards BSP supremo Kanshi Ram, who founded the party on April 14, 1984.

Affectionately called "Behanji", Mayawati's initial brush with politics was rough when she lost two bye-elections to the Lok Sabha from Bijnore and Haridwar in 1985 and 1987.

But, it was third time lucky for her when she made her Parliamentary debut winning from Bijnore in the 1989 general elections. She has never looked back since then.

The meteoric rise of Mayawati, who is a spinster, culminated in her becoming the chief minister for the first time on June 3, 1995 when the BSP tasted power in alliance with the BJP after she dumped Samajwadi leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

She won her first parliamentary election in 1989 from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. Since than she has shunted between the Up state assembly and Parliament.

The BSP’s emergence as a third force in the state also saw her as the one holding the balance of power in the state legislative assembly. She first became chief minister on June 3, 1995, with the help of an arrangement with the BJP. The marriage ended soon after and BSP was forced to occupy the opposition benches for the next five years.

The 2002 elections again saw Mayawati hold the balance of power as no party was in a position to form the government. After a short spell of central rule, Mayawati became the UP CM for the third time in seven years. But ultimately had to go out again following a tiff with coalition partner BJP.

Having been the chief minister for not more than six months before, 49-year-old Mayawati has been pitchforked to head the most populous and politically sensitive state as she expanded her voter base to help her Bahujan Samaj Party gain wider acceptability.

The meteoric rise of Mayawati, who is a spinster, culminated in her becoming the chief minister for the first time on June 3, 1995 when the BSP tasted power in alliance with the BJP after she dumped Samajwadi leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Did you know?

This is her third spell as UP CM. She has earlier held the post from June to October 1995 and March to September 1997.

BBC profiles the Dalit firebrand

First Published: Mar 25, 2004 12:10 IST