Behind every successful man, they say, is a woman. Stretching this analogy in reverse, everyone is curious to know who is the man behind this successful woman.
One man's name stands out most prominently.
Kanshi Ram it was who spotted Mayawati. He saw the fire, the zeal, the commitment, the venom, the ruthlessness and the single-minded dedication he was looking for in his followers.
Mayawati exhibited those qualities in abundance then. She continues to exude them till date.
He encouraged Mayawati. He guided her. He gave her support. He moulded her.
Kanshi Ram wanted Mayawati to work for the Dalit Cause.
Initially, he did not choose her for power politics. He seemed to think that she would make a better leader organising Dalits in the field.
His organisation BAMCEF grew rapidly. Its pungent/pithy slogans became popular. The response was terrific. Dalit support in Uttar Pradesh swelled.
Overnight, his voice was being heard with respect and awe.
UP politicians sat up and took notice. Mulayam Singh Yadav and many others started wooing him.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders became his followers, cringing, for his support -- at any cost. The humiliation heaped upon the BJP leaders was gleefully, and without shame, lapped up.
Leaders like Lalji Tandon strutted about, proudly flaunting BSP rakhis bound on their wrists, almost like BSP handcuffs. Mayawati and Kanshi Ram exploited them cleverly. BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Kalyan Singh, A B Vajpayee were also fooled!
The BJP's stature shrunk even as its leadership's opportunism zoomed up in UP. The recent assembly election results were the natural outcome. The BJP got the boot.
Each successive election tested Kanshi Ram's massive organising skills, and rewarded him with ever-increasing seats. He criss-crossed all over UP's rugged terrain and interacted with people at the grass-root level.
The neglected Dalits had someone to look forward to. The least known Dalit volunteer had got someone who motivated and inspired her/him.
In those early days of intense struggle, Congressman Veer Bahadur Singh used to be the resourceful chief minister of UP. An assembly election campaign was on in Haridwar constituency.
The wily and experienced CM ordered his governmental hatchet boys to erase the Bahujan Samaj Party's campaign wall paintings.
The PWD and other powerful government departments systematically erased each and every one of those thousands of campaign paintings that had been so painstakingly worked upon by enthusiastic BSP volunteers.
Others would have easily been shattered and frustrated. Not Kanshi Ram.
Instructions were issued by him that day. Word of mouth communication galvanised the Dalits to take up the challenge. Different teams swung into action.
The volunteers slogged the whole night. The next morning -- yes, within a short span of 12 hours -- thousands upon thousands of the BSP's symbol, the elephant, had been painted all over the walls in Haridwar constituency.
Haridwar residents were amazed at Kanshi Ram's organisational capacity.
Veer Bahadur Singh was furious.
The Congress, which was in power, had lost the game to the BSP's superb organisational skills, thanks to Kanshi Ram's, as well as his volunteers' commitment, zeal and hard labour.
Till date, the Congress's drubbing at the BSP's hands continues.
Maharashtra is now on the top priority list of the ambitious Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party.
Maharashtra was given a foretaste of the Elephant's Stride just a couple of months ago.
Like in Haridwar, walls all over Maharashtra were similarly plastered in blue with the BSP's symbol.
Mark the phenomenal difference between one small assembly constituency and contrast it with the vast state of Maharashtra. Does the BSP's organisational power register in your mind?
Maharashtra's Dalit leaders like Prakash Ambedkar and Ramdas Athawale had better take serious note and put their houses in order. Their cadres have already started slipping away into the Mayawati camp. Mayawati's Beer Singh is working overtime on their turf.
Now, let us revert to Kanshi Ram, and his approach to politics.
Power started flowing in Kanshi Ram's and his BSP's favour. There was no looking back.
A paucity of suitable/superior candidates for the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's post made him reconcile with Mayawati. He put her in the CM's chair.
Her first stint as CM was due to Kaanshi Ram's blind support. He rued it till he breathed his last. Many people heard the name of Mayawati for the first time after she was crowned CM. Her successor too is being groomed by her in right earnest, but secretly.
Mayawati used to live with Kanshi Ram. This happened more for political reasons, but knowing words/looks were exchanged by the hangers-on. Vulgar and jealous onlookers incessantly called them names. Neither was in the least bothered/deterred by the snide remarks.
Machiavellian Kanshi Ram lured and nurtured national political leaders and bureaucrats into his fold. Someone like Mulayam Singh Yadav also was turned into a friend.
Many a Dalit bureaucrat secretly funded him, fed him vital data and helped refine his strategies of social engineering.
Kanshi Ram encouraged all of them very cleverly. He mopped up ideas and money from them for the cause. The leaders and bureaucrats felt comfortable, but he never lost his focus.
Look at what he has done to transform a simple, rustic school teacher named Mayawati into a formidable leader of national stature. She has become the chief minister of India's most populous/politically sensitive state.
Kanshi Ram had vision.
When Mayawati's dream was to become just an IAS officer, he egged her on to become a politician and later CM, and thereby she could control the entire IAS fraternity. Note the vision difference/level between the two.
What she has made of that IAS cadre in UP is yet another sordid story altogether. Mayawati is giving the Indian Administrative Service boys basic lessons in administration.
Mayawati's brand of administration.
The IAS guys are lapping the lessons up sheepishly. What a sad and pathetic irony.
Mayawati, in contrast to Kanshi Ram's approach, scuttles anyone with ambitions to leadership. Like the banyan tree, no leader can grow nor prosper under her. She is the one and solitary leader. None else matters. None is allowed to survive.
Here, her insecurity seeps through.
Anyone (including politicians/bureaucrats/mediapersons) who comes too close to Mayawati or grows too big for her/his shoes is instantaneously thrown out. No second thoughts. No remorse.
Heartlessly, and with a vengeance.
Bruised and singed, s/he is humiliated and reduced to a zero. Her erstwhile principal secretary Panna Lal Punia, IAS, is a classic example of this.
Strange, but amazingly true, not even one leader who has ditched her has politically survived to tell the sad tale. All those deserters are desolate, and writhing in the throes of their political oblivion.
Beware Sonia Gandhi! You and your Congress party are her next target. Mayawati's future victims for sure.
Remember to keep your beloved cub and your sundry Congress pups under check and tight control, lest they blabber out of turn. You will have to bear the brunt, and face Mayawati's wrath.
Soniaji, always keep pahelwan-politician Mulayam Singh Yadav's vivid fate consciously in your mind, else you will have to certainly regret, at leisure.
Aspiring leaders, simply maintain a respectable, deferential distance. Pay due obeisance when required. Do not yap out of turn, and never desert/ditch Mayawati, if you wish to survive in the coming Maya Raaj.
When Kanshi Ram was seriously ill and hospitalised in New Delhi, Mayawati took complete charge. She unilaterally took decisions for him.
Her proximity and control over Kanshi Ram was complete, as the poor, helpless man lay in a coma.
She almost denied his relatives the final farewell before he breathed his last. Kanshi Ram's emotional needs, feelings and sentiments for his near and dear ones were interred with his ashes. And, Mayawati conserved those ashes.
Mayawati ceremoniously brought Kanshi Ram's ashes to Lucknow. They have been preserved for posterity. Somewhere, behind the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati's office.
Mayawati has more or less wiped out Kanshi Ram's memory. These days, she has become a bigger name than her mentor. Her charismatic persona has started overshadowing his sterling image.
The seeds that Kanshi Ram had sown have now taken firm root. Mayawati has been lucky to reap the rich harvest of Dalit souls and their votes have strengthened her beyond recognition.
Some diehard Dalit cynics say, 'almost by default'.
Her gratitude towards her mentor was nominal.
He slogged day and night to make Dalit unity become a reality via BAMCEF. Mayawati has systematically wiped BAMCEF out of UP, maybe India.
Erstwhile colleagues of Kanshi Ram like Tejinder Singh Jhaggi of BAMCEF are persona non grata, cast aside unceremoniously. Honest giant S R Lakha, IAS, is wasted handling jails in UP.
She has no need for them now.
Most Dalit intellectuals are frustrated with her, but they can't do a thing about it. They are lying low, holding seminars and meetings which few attend.
The Dalits are propelling Mayawati to power in UP, and maybe in New Delhi, after the parliamentary election. Therefore, she needs and uses them. Like the way she used the Brahmins in UP to ride to power.
She will do the same all over India, come the parliamentary election.
In stark contrast, Kanshi Ram was an astute statesman. Humane too. After great sacrifices and Herculean efforts and incessant labour, it was he who successfully propelled the Dalits to power.
He sought power for the Dalits, grabbed no ostensible power for himself. He sacrificed his own comforts so that they could become a strong and powerful force to reckon with, all over India.
He could very easily have become the chief minister of UP, but preferred to be the queen-maker.
He galvanised the disparate and scattered Dalits across the entire country into one powerful phalanx.
Mayawati has plans to grab power in New Delhi after the parliamentary election. That she will get it, she seems to be confident. Unless Fate fells her ambitions, midway!
If those single-digitwallahs like Morarji Desai, V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar, H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral and Dr Manmohan Singh could make it to the PM's chair, then why not Mayawati?
This charismatic Dalit leader with a galvanised 10 to 15 per cent chunk of committed Dalit voters in her kitty has a weightier claim to the chair, literally. None of the above leaders had weight like she has.
Come to think of it, can anyone name one single national leader who can -- with confidence -- get even a guaranteed paltry 5 per cent of votes in India? No, not even Atalji!
Mayawati has a guaranteed solid 10 per cent. And this is one of the secrets of this woman's phenomenal power.
With her pan-Indian Dalit following her in a frenzy, slogging for her in the field, with their dreams of seeing a Dalit prime minister in India, the possibility is not as distant as most Indians wish/dread it to be.
Mayawati's dream may just be fulfilled.
In that case, obviously, she will have to leave UP and rush to New Delhi, because she cannot rule two places at the same time, can she?
The million dollar question doing the rounds in UP's political circles today -- and maybe, tomorrow -- all over the country is, 'Who will Mayawati allow to succeed her as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh?'
After Mayawati, who?