The Inimitable Dalit Icon
Mayawati is a renowned political leader from India who served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for four terms. Uttar Pradesh is a huge sized state of India, which has immense significance in India’s national politics. She is the National President of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a national level political party in India that was conceived and formed to represent Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes (OBC) along with religious minorities in India.
Born on 15th January 1956 in New Delhi to a Dalit family (Dalits belong to the lowest stratum in the caste hierarchy in India and they come under the ambit of scheduled caste under the Constitution of India) of Jatav caste, the age of Mayawati is 66 years. Her father was an employee in post office.
Initiation into Politics
She did her graduation in 1975 from Kalindi College, which is under the University of Delhi, and then did her Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) from Meerut University, in 1976. She earned a law degree (LLB) from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.
Mayawati was working as a teacher and studying for Civil Services exam (one of the most prestigious competitive exams in India) when one day in 1977 the renowned backward caste leader Kanshi Ram visited her family home. He promised to make Mayawati a big leader. When he founded Bahujan Samaj Party in 1984 he included Mayawati as a member of the party.
In 1989, Mayawati got elected from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections and became a Member of the Parliament. She got elected to Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) from Uttar Pradesh in 1994.
As Chief Minister
While discussing about Mayawati one can know that she became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time in 1995 for a short period, thereby attaining the distinction of being the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India. Her government was formed with the support of BJP.
In 1996, she contested Lok Sabha elections from two different constituencies and won both the seats and among them she chose to serve as an MP from Harora constituency in UP. In 1997, Mayawati again became Chief Minister of UP for a short period.
One of the remarkable achievements of her second tenure as the CM was allocation of gram sabha lands on lease to thousands of landless residents of UP.
Her third term as CM of UP was from 3rd May 2002 to 26thAugust 2003 and her fourth term as CM of UP was during 2007-2012. In the 2007 assembly elections in UP, BSP won absolute majority by winning 206 out of 403 seats.
As a politician Mayawati achieved maximum success during 2007-2012. During her fourth term as the CM, her government executed a huge crackdown on irregularities in the recruitment of police officers during its previous government in UP, as a result of which 18,000 police personnel lost jobs when irregularities in their hiring was detected. 25 Indian Police Service officers were suspended for their involvement in corruption in the recruitment process of police constables in UP. These aspects need to be highlighted in a biography of Mayawati.
During her fourth term as CM, in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, BSP won 20 seats from the state of Uttar Pradesh, and obtained the highest percentage (27.42 percent) of votes for any political party in UP in that election.
Mayawati is known for her efficient governance and strict uphelding of the rule of law. In 2007, a member of her own political party, Umakant Yadav was arrested on a land-grabbing case. Several high and mighty mafia dons were jailed during her tenures as CM, which were characterized by very less corruption. Her tenures as CM also had fewer riots and rapes as compared to most other governments in UP. In her third term as CM, she suspended six IPS officers for failure to maintain law and order.
However, the politics of Mayawati largely relied on backward caste card. In her fourth tenure as CM, Mayawati government’s proposal for 30 percent reservation in private sector jobs was extremely anti-meritocratic in character. The government also introduced a quota for promotions which was thankfully later quashed by the Supreme Court of India. She has also been justifiably criticized for spending huge sums of money for commissioning a number of statues, which included her own statues too.
As far as net worth of Mayawati goes, it needs to be mentioned that in an affidavit filed with her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati revealed assets worth Rs.111.26 crore. However, there is no authentic information about the net worth of Mayawati as of today.
Plummeting Political Stature
But despite her efficient governance, BSP fared badly in the 2012 legislative assembly elections in UP, where SP won the majority with 224 seats. Soon after tendering her resignation as CM of UP, Mayawati was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha.
It seems during the last ten years the political fortunes of BSP supremo has dipped considerably. In the 2017 legislative assembly elections in UP, BSP managed to win only 19 out of 403 seats it contested, and in 2022 legislative assembly elections in UP, BSP performed more miserably; it secured 1 out of 403 seats it contested.
She is unmarried.
Her first tenure as the Chief Minister of UP was during 3rd June -18th October 1995. Her second term as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was from 21st March -20th September 1997. She served as the CM of UP for the third time during 3rd May 2002 to 26thAugust 2003 and her fourth term as CM of UP was during 2007-2012.
Mayawati entered politics in 1984 when she joined Bahujan Samaj Party as its member.