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Home > News > Columnists > Nazarwala

Mayawati begins her campaign to be prime minister

July 30, 2007

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For Mayawati it was a solo battle to become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh -- no wonder she's called 'self-made'.

She has certain qualities and traits which single her out as a powerful politician. Her style is unique.

She is absolutely focused on her political priorities. Nothing can shake her from her resolve to fulfill her ambitions.

Now she has, Arjun-like, set her ambitious eyes on the target.

Which is the parliamentary election scheduled for 2009.

In her mind Mayawati has already anointed herself prime minister of India.

She is ruthlessly swift in her methods/reactions/decisions/actions. She has not the slightest hesitation in beheading the highest of bureaucrats/politicians.

She handpicks loyalist senior bureaucrats for key/sensitive/coveted assignments. Being her fourth stint as chief minister she knows most of them personally.

Her broad policy seems to hunt and hound out Yadavs of all ranks from lucrative posts. Replacing them with Dalits and Brahmins is the current trend.

Transfers and postings of sundry officers are done mostly on the spur of the moment -- recklessly. What her area coordinators study and observe, and finally advice, is generally believed/accepted by the team transferring officers.

Blunders? Errors? Unjust? Unwarranted? So what? Well, they can be corrected by another spate of equally quick and reckless chain of transfers!

The terrified and insecure, mostly corrupt and fawning, serfs dare not resist or react.

An impeccably honest and solid police officer, Mrigendra Singh, was dismissed under the draconian Article 311 for performing his professional duty meticulously. Why?

Because, Mayawati has not read the Constitution, nor has she the interest/inclination/responsibility to brush up her ignorance of the law and do justice.

Madhukar Gupta, the Union home secretary, needs to closely monitor the flagrant violation in UP of the All India Service Rules.

****

The iron lady has few feminine features. She has become conscious of her charisma only after coming to power.

Power has brought in her share of badams and pistas, which she loves to munch on. She has cleverly adopted the current dress that takes care of her extra pounds.

Weight is a problem she has reconciled with. She has no time to slim. She would rather use that precious hour for political scheming.

Jawed Habib, the celebrity hairstylist, used to fly to Lucknow to put her hair in place.

A loner, Mayawati has no friends worth the name. She is neither social nor sociable.

Her social life is restricted to sometimes watching serials on television. Ekta Kapoor [Images]: How about one on woman power in politics?

This woman is extremely suspicious by nature. The unfortunate Lucknow guest house attack that happened over a decade ago has not been erased from her memory.

It has scarred and scared her for life.

She has never forgiven Mulayam Singh Yadav for that frightening incident when his goons almost succeeded in pouncing upon a helpless Mayawati.

Coupled with an elephantine memory she never forgets nor forgives.

That's Mayawati's style.

Surrounded by crude male politicians most of the time, Mayawati has grown suspecting their intentions.

24x7, she spends trying to fulfill her political ambitions.

*****

Far-sighted Mayawati is the only Indian politician who has already taken the initiative in planning and implementing her decisions for the forthcoming parliamentary election.

Notice her masterstroke of envisioning and planning to erect a huge statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar in Lucknow. This unique statue will be well over 47 metres high.

What's the big deal, you ask?

Well, the height of the Statue of Liberty in the United States of America is 46.05 metres. Babasaheb's statue will definitely be taller than that American landmark.

Do you hear the thunderous message reverberating throughout India?

Do you see Dalit hearts swelling with noticeable pride and thunderously applauding her for the courage shown by their behenji in building this majestic statue in India?

Do you see the Dalit voters, all over India, being galvanised into Mayawati's committed voters, brushing aside other small-time Dalit or non-Dalit leaders?

The others can keep struggling for Dalit support/votes during the parliamentary election.

Mayawati has already leaped ahead of all of them.

Congress cub Rahulbaba was enjoying his well-earned holiday in Cuba, while mummy Sonia Gandhi was busy propping up the sagging image of Presidential nominee Pratibhatai Patil.

The BJP's UP election strategist, Arun Jaitley, was busy in the US. Kalyan Singh has not yet agreed to emerge from his sulk. BJP President Rajnath Singh seems bewildered and lost. The RSS/BJP cadres are rudderless and hopeless, that's for sure.

BJP leaders have been wasting their precious time 'analysing' the causes of the UP drubbing for two long months. They have no wisdom/foresight to forget the past and forge ahead.

Relentless hard work and a perfectly oiled and aggressively functional organisational machinery right down to the polling booth level for the parliamentary election is a must for the BJP's very survival.

Else, Mayawati's boys will give them a national flogging which the BJP and Congress 'leaders' will remember for long. Mark my words.

Rajnath Singh is also waiting -- shovel in hand -- to bury rival Jaitley, if the latter fails to deliver a spectacular victory for the BJP in Gujarat later this year.

Jaitley and his resourceful pal Narendra Modi will have to rack their brains to wean away the Hindus, including the Dalits and Brahmins, from Mayawati's ever-tightening grasp/clasp.

*****

In stark contrast, Mayawati and her dedicated band of anonymous workers are already fanning out in each one of the 545 parliamentary constituencies, making rapid inroads into traditional BJP and Congress domains.

Ask bewildered onlookers in Maharashtra who, one morning, were amazed to see their neighbourhood walls plastered with her symbol, the Elephant.

Her style of publicity is unique, original and goes straight to the grassroots.

Well, Mayawati seldom ventures out of her fortress-like super-secure house. Bureaucrats have to take the files to her 'home office' to be seen/autographed by her.

By the way, each and every IAS officer, as well as the uniformed police top brass, has to remove his/her shoes/chappals/sandals outside 'Mayawatidevi's' room. And, only after doing that can those powerful guys enter.

Mayawati had fervently nursed her childhood fantasy of becoming an IAS officer. She just could not reach that level.

Mentor Kaanshi Ram consoled her, and re-directed her energies/ambitions to 'rule' over the IAS officers.

With one fell blow, Mayawati has castrated the entire hierarchy-obsessed UP IAS cadre by superimposing a non-cadre officer.

He is a mere pilot at that. His name is Shashank Shekhar Singh. He has come over their heads as the state cabinet secretary.

The sight of trembling IAS officers kowtowing before Madam has to be seen to be believed. No one dare take her threat of 'dismissal' instead of the usual transfer and suspensions lightly.

Bureaucrats' morale as well as All India Service Rules be damned.

The so-called steel frame of India, at least in UP, seems to have metamorphosed into the still-born frame.

Imagine an intermediate-pass cabinet secretary lording it over all those scared principal secretaries.

The UP IAS cadre dislikes the genial Shashank Shekhar Singh, and yet they are incapable of doing anything. Except, of course, gnash their teeth in impotent rage.

*****

Scheming and calibrating the different permutations and combinations of caste. That is one of Mayawati's strong/weak points, depending on what your personal values/attitudes/priorities are.

She is blunt, rather crude in enquiring about a person's caste. Does s/he have a commanding personality and the capacity to mobilise/convert his/her jaatwalas into her voters?

Mayawati thinks about a person's caste, and his utility in furthering her political agenda, before she thinks of anything else.

These days her favourites are Brahmins and Dalits.

The resilient and 'practical' Banias are also deserting the BJP, and gravitating towards the elephantine joy ride.

The Muslims had almost joined the bandwagon, but for Mayawati's faux pas and myopic lack of support to A P J Abdul Kalam's Presidential candidature. Minister Naseemudin Siddiqui is, once again, desperately trying hard to draw them towards the BSP.

The UP chief minister hates to look at files. This weakness can prove politically fatal someday.

She has to force herself to go near a government file, which she abhors doing.

Writing observations and detailed orders on office files is neither her inclination nor forte. Kalyan Singh enjoyed doing that.

She consciously restricts herself to merely writing 'Mayawati' in Hindi on most of the files that the nervous bureaucrats dare put up before her for signature. Is that not much better than a mere thumb impression?

Kanpur Divisional Commissioner Navtej Singh goes one better. He just puts a single neat dot, a mere pen tip dot instead of his signature on files which he is supposed to have seen and taken a conscious and well considered decision, and also concrete action upon.

Believe it or not, but this is true. The shortest/smallest signature in the world, if you please.

The Taj Mahal case file/fiasco has shaken Mayawati up. Thanks to P L Punia, then principal secretary to the chief minister, who gave the CBI an affidavit against her to save his skin. She trusts none after this punch.

*****

Mayawati's knowledge of and fluency in English is minimal. She has never been seen conversing in English. Her Hindi too has the rough edges of the western jat-land.

Raju Srivastava, India's laughter-rioter, can make the nation laugh if he were to visualise and enact the famous dinner meeting between Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi when they sat and discussed the Presidential election and Pratibha Patil's [Images] candidature.

Sonia's Italian Hindi and Mayawati's UP English have to be heard to be believed. Both read out written stuff, and when they have to converse without aides, it promises to be a rare and amusing sight.

The media thinks no end of its power and clout. It does not exist in Mayawati's UP these days. Mayawati simply cares two hoots for pompous pen-pushers and camera-clickers.

Her press conferences are hilarious and delightful. Watch Mayawati in action.

She comes prepared with a brief written statement. Reads it out. Leaves no time for questions. Mumbles a few inane words. And abruptly walks away, before the bewildered press guys can put their thoughts and questions together.

She shows scant respect for the media.

Her voters do not know how to read or write. And, they are far too poor to own a television.

That's her thinking and style, take it or leave it.

She snaps at all those media/poll pundits and exit-poll experts who could not read the sign of the times in UP. Except Nazarwala of rediff.com, of course.

She points out their failure and aggressively silences them.

Mediapersons fret and fume but cannot make her change her style. So they adapt theirs -- resilient and practical guys that they are.

Mayawati is indeed very lucky to be living in 2007.

The advanced technological age of rapid communication has saved her those laborious trudges across the nation which the likes of Mahatma Gandhi [Images]/Dr B R Ambedkar/Nehru/Indira Gandhi [Images]/Jayaprakash Narayan/Periyar/Potti Srimalu, etc etc had to undertake to make their voices heard.

It is ironical, almost poetic justice that Mayawati, who has such scant respect for the media, will use that very electronic/print media to her political advantage.

They need Mayawati's clips much more desperately for their dwindling TRPs. Her need for them and their votes/nuisance value is much less, right?

Mayawati will use them calculatingly/ruthlessly to her charismatic-persona-building advantage all over India during the parliamentary election.

They will follow her like the Hutch puppy!

Whether you like it or not, learn to understand and appreciate it. The street smart IAS cadre of UP has already learnt it, in double quick time.

Mayawati has come to stay on the national scene for a long, long time.

Whether you like Mayawati and/or her style or not is increasingly becoming irrelevant.

Learn to live with her, guys.


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