Grandma's Tales

May 11, 2007

Mayajaal, yeh Maya hai, Mayawati all the way

Filed under: Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:25 pm

Dear Mayawatiji,
Congratulations! Today you created history. You won 207 of the 403 assembly seats in a faction-ridden, fractured political atmosphere that has been the bane of UP politics for the last several decades. You have contributed your bit to the chaos, venality and moral degradation in UP’s governance, but today I shall not be churlish to remind you of them. Today is your day and let me list your achievements.
[1] You will soon be sworn in as the Chief Minister of this politically important state for a 4th time. That is a record. You were also its first woman Dalit CM.
[2] You graduated with a BA from Kalinidi College and later got yourself a Law degree from the same place. You then did your B Ed at Delhi University. Between ’77 and ’84, you taught in a number of schools run by Delhi administration. A teacher is a CM of UP. That makes me happy.
[3] You took an active role in the student movements on and off campus and also won a number of debates during your student days. I’m not surprised.
[4] You joined the BSP in ’84 and after a couple of false starts, won the Lok Sabha seat in ’89. In ’94, you went to the Rajya Sabha.
[5] Your innings in UP politics started in ’95. Your moves to capture and stay in power as CM of this great state did not add to your stature. Even your warmest wishers will not approve of some of the decisions you took. In your hour of glory, may be I should forget them. But we should learn from our past mistakes, right? Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
[6] Yes, you were allegedly attacked by SP goons in the guest house in ’95. So you went on to forge an impossible alliance with BJP! What did you have in common with them? You were an avowed leader of the Dalits! All because you wanted to sit in the CM’s hallowed chair? In a few months the alliance came to an abrupt end. Unfortunately this history was repeated in ’97. This time, you formed a coalition with BJP with the unique agreement that both parties would have its own chief minister by rotation for six months each. However, after your stint of six months, you refused to vacate the seat. You simply withdrew your support to the government. Thanks to that, there were ugly scenes in the UP assembly which ended in unprecedented brickbatting in that august hall.
[7] You became CM in 2002, but had to relinquish office in 2003 when the Taj Corridor scam surfaced and the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe. You truly left the nation shocked by giving permission for the development of commercial complexes all around this heritage monument and India’s pride. (An aside: I must tell you that there are many in my state who believe that “development” should override all other considerations. You can count them as your supporters.)
[8] You got into the next controversy following your mentor Kanshi Ram’s death. The family went to court saying you had usurped his name, wealth and position. But let’s not get into that now.
[9] During your time as CM, you established the Ambedkar Park, erected a number of statutes for him and started the Ambedkar Vikas Yojna. All these are of dubious merit and failed to cut ice with voters.
[10] But you ran a brilliant campaign in this election. Probably for the first time in Indian political history, you based it on “social engineering”. You systematically wooed the Brahmins. Very shrewdly, you assessed their voting strength. You gave tickets to Tripathis and Mishras. You pulled off what people would have thought impossible. A woman who has consistently projected herself as a Dalit leader now gathers the Brahmins to support her views. In a country reeling under caste considerations and quotas, you got the Brahmins and Dalits to work together for your party’s victory. For that alone, this country owes you a big salute!
In Brahmin dominated areas, your party’s (Bahujan Samaj Party) victory was assured. Your political acumen and your organisational powers were seen in your ability to get your traditional Dalit voters to vote for Muslim and Brahmin candidates where the Dalits were in majority. I don’t think any other party could have done it. They did not. The results prove it.
[11] Your election campaign was unique in another important aspect. In fact, you stood it on its head. The three usual components of campaigns in India (and abroad) went completely missing. (a) There was no election manifesto. (b) There was no feverish campaigning. While the Gandhis and Yadavs fried in the UP summer temperatures, you appeared once or twice in public and that too in an AC-ed van. Shades of you-know-who? (c) You gave the media a complete by-pass. You spent your time talking to groups of supporters and convincing them of your strategy. Hats off to you!
I’m sure even now your campaign strategies are being discussed all over the world. I won’t be surprised if election strategists from the US approach you for advice (a woman could be a candidate for Prez) in the coming months.
[12] Now for what you should be doing. You have a clear mandate. I know you will find representation in your cabinet for the various groups that voted you in. Your organisational abilities should see you through in getting them to work as a cohesive force. With authority vested only in you, that should be possible. We have seen that happen in our state.
[13] What bothers me is this. Will you have something positive to show for 5 years in power? You have time. You don’t have to watch your back or get entangled in coalition “dharma”. Can we expect meaningful governance in UP, that beleagured state? Or will you waste time in foisting and following up cases against your arch enemy?
Mayawatiji, you have the capacity to govern. You just proved it. You stand tall among a maze of inefficient, inept men.
Please use your mandate to pull UP out of its morass of crime, corruption and incompetence. Improve law and order. Deal severely with criminal elements. Create an atmosphere of investor confidence so industries find fertile soil to prosper. UP-iites deserve better governance, better educational opportunities, better jobs. You can do it.
The next time around people should vote not because they have nowhere else to go, but because they are happy with what you did for their lives. Let it be a vote for performance, not for promise.
All the best!



  1. what a brilliant piece of writing was it… great reading. it has the exact tinge of sarcasm that it needs.

    way to go!

    Comment by jaideep — May 12, 2007 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  2. […] Geeta Padmanabhan has an implicit warning for the new Lady of Lucknow. The next time around people should vote not because they have nowhere else to go, but because they are happy with what you did for their lives. Let it be a vote for performance, not for promise. Linked by bhupinder […]

    Pingback by The Magic of Mayawati at Blogbharti — May 12, 2007 @ 4:55 am | Reply

  3. Thanks, jaideep, thanks bhupinder! It’s my readers that keep me punching at the keyboard late into the night.
    jaideep, I don’t know what kind of books you expect me to write, but I’m writing grammar books for children right now. I really can’t explain it, but teaching children to write well makes me immeasurably happy. I wrote a couple of text books for OUP last year, and both kids and teachers loved it. I feel totally fulfilled when that happens.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — May 12, 2007 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  4. […] Posted by பிரேமலதா on May 14th, 2007 பரவாயில்லையே! மாயாவதியைப் பத்தி இவங்க எழுதியிருக்கிறது உண்மைன்னா, “நல்ல” அரசியல்வாதிகள் உருவாகிட்டிருக்கிறாங்க போலிருக்கே, அதோட நல்ல அரசியல் கண்ணோட்டமும் உருவா…… […]

    Pingback by The Politician « கதம்ப மாலை — May 14, 2007 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  5. Since there is a lot of stress on caste, hope people see beyond it, and development will take front seat, and UP will progress.

    Comment by Pradeep — May 15, 2007 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  6. Let’s sincerely hope so, Pradeep. Why should some states stay behind, while others surge ahead? All it needs to improve the lot of the people is good governance based on visionary thinking.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — May 15, 2007 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  7. I think future of UP is very good.It has shown India that people can come out of the caste bondage.Now its time for economical and educational developemet.All the best for UP

    Comment by Rajaram — June 24, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  8. Just keep your fingers crossed, Rajaram. UP has a lot of potential. The people deserve some sustainable development. It should start with building a solid education / infrastructure base.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — June 24, 2007 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

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