Mayawati elected leader
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Mayawati elected leader of BSP legislature party (Lead:Mayawati)
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Mayawati elected leader of BSP legislature party (Lead:Mayawati)

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati was today unanimously elected as the leader of her partys legislature group paving the way for her to become the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Lucknow, May 12 : Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati was today unanimously elected as the leader of her party's legislature group paving the way for her to become the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Fifty-one-year old Mayawati will be meeting UP Governor T V Rajeshwar later in the day to stake claim to form the next government in the State after her party secured a simple majority by winning 206 assembly seats of the 402 constituencies that went to polls.

This will be Mayawati's fourth brush with the top post of the State and for the first time she will be heading a single-party government. BSP's decisive victory in the State, negating all the predictions of pollsters, has ended the 14 years of coalition rule in the State.

She is expected to take the oath on Sunday, a day before the constitution of the next assembly.

Though this time she did not contest the polls, and is presently representing UP in the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati had been at the State's top post three times earlier -- briefly in 1995 and 1997, and from 2002 to 2003 with the support of the BJP.

It has taken Mayawati 23 years to rise from a largely unknown entity to being queen for a fourth time of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state.

In 1984, the BSP was born, and few then gave the party that aggressively championed the Dalit cause a great future. Mayawati had just resigned as a teacher from a state owned school in Delhi. Nobody knew her.

Daughter of a telecommunication employee, she initially wanted to be a district magistrate. She passed out from the universities of Delhi and Meerut, studying law and then a course in teaching.

BSP founder leader Kanshi Ram spotted Mayawati and decided to groom her for much greater things.

Mayawati proved to be more than a good pupil. A powerful speaker in Hindi, she combined her boundless energy and her commitment to Dalit society to unleash a campaign against the upper castes.

It helped that she was a Jatav, the most upwardly mobile sect among Dalits. She used her lungpower to thunder before tens of thousands that she was a Dalit and proud to be one.

She mesmerized millions of Dalits and even Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, most of whom deserted the Congress, a party they had supported for decades.

As the first Dalit to run a state in India in 1995, she refused to compromise on her pro-Dalit stance. The 1995 stint lasted just four months. She came back to power in 1997, and that ended in six months.

'Bahenji', or Sister as Mayawati was known by then, had become an icon of Dalit politics. She returned for a third time as chief minister in 2002, and ruled for a year. By then, the once oily plaited and pony tailed woman had switched over to bobbed hair. She dressed well. Somewhere along the road she even eclipsed Kanshi Ram, whose death left her the supreme master of BSP.

She bought a bungalow near New Delhi's diplomatic enclave. But she still avoided the media and the upper crust - unless she needed them.

Her 2003 birthday in Lucknow was a gala affair, involving a 51 kg cake, 100,000 ladoos, 60 quintals of marigold flowers and 5,000 bouquets.

Corruption charges followed. But Mayawati only grew in popularity, deftly dropping her anti-upper caste vitriol in a bid to embrace everyone to build a large social umbrella like the Congress had for decades.

This has made Mayawati the leader that she always dreamt of being when she first came to power.


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