India's First Dalit Prime Minister ' Ms Mayawati?

Regular readers would recall that in my Column 'Uttar Pradesh Election Results: The Political Portents'  I had made the following observations which need to be recalled in connection with Ms Mayawati's possibilities of emerging as the first Dalit Prime Minister of India, and that too as a woman. The social engineering that she crafted then and if repeated could may well place her in New Delhi, if not by an outright victory in the coming General Elections, but as a power broker on the strength of her social engineering strategies. Nothing should be ruled out in Indian politics.

One has sensed a keen interest in her profile by foreign countries and that reinforces the possibilities.

In the above mentioned Column, the more significant observations made by me were as under:

  • 'Uttar Pradesh Elections May 11, 2007 seem to be pointing out some significant portents for Indian political parties and their leaders.'
  • 'On that day for the first time in fifteen years the Uttar Pradesh electorate gave a clear mandate to a single party and thereby pre-empting political horse-trading and party switching'.'
  • The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) could come into power this time as for the first time it went into a political outreach to the upper caste Brahmins and the economically weaker strata of the upper castes.'
  • 'The new social engineering sends out an important political message that caste based parties cannot on their own seize political power.'
  • 'So powerful is this portent that even Mayawati after the election results was prompted to declare that India's reservation policies need revision'.'.
  • 'Political pundits are already opining that this could be Mayawati's magic mantra which could propel her to power in New Delhi.'

India's first Dalit and backward Prime Minister hopefuls include Laloo Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan besides Mulayam Singh. All of them rose to political power solely on the strength of their own caste vote-banks and by garnering Indian Muslim vote-banks. Ms Mayawati rose to political power to begin with her sizeable Dlalit vote-banks but as stated above she broke out of those shackles and ensured an outright victory with her political outreach to the upper castes to whom she gave a fair number of election tickets.

All of the above political leaders less Ms Mayawati have lost political ground in their home states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. As for the Indian Muslim votes which bolstered them, these may not be forthcoming to them, in the numbers as was in the past. In fact after Mumbai 9/11 Ms Mayawati still retains her Indian Muslim vote bank in contrast to the others.

Ms Mayawati is being projected to win as much as 50 seats in the Lok Sabha in the coming General Elections. It would be lucky for Laloo Yadav and Mulayam Singh to retain their respective 30 seats or so. The Leftist Parties on current indications will probably end up with about half of their present 60 seats or so.

So in terms of coalition politics at the Centre the political significance of Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Singh and the Leftist Parties would stand greatly reduced and so also their political importance and say in Government formation in New Delhi.

If Ms Mayawati succeeds in getting 50 seats or plus she would emerge as the major political force in the next electoral arithmetic with immense political bargaining power which the two major political parties, namely the Congress Party or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can ill ignore. Both of the major political parties would find it politically distasteful to align with Ms Mayawati in view of their past political dealings with her.

The Third Front is a political possibility based on the Leftist Parties plus Ms Mayawati's BSP and a host of other regional parties but in that case one of the major political parties would have to provide outside support. If the Leftist Parties support Mayawati, the regional Dalit chieftans of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar would be under pressure from their political constituencies not to impede the rise of Mayawati to the Prime Minister's office and subsume their political ambitions for the time being.

Even if such a political contrivation lasts for a year or two, history would have been made as Ms Mayawati would have emerged as the first Dalist Prime Minister of India. So powerful has been her social engineering that the Congress President and Rahul Gandhi have consistently made her the target of their political attacks. The same goes for the BJP.

They all know that in India's political landscape today if there is anybody who can impede the Congress Party or the BJP from seizing power in New Delhi it is only Ms Mayawati on the strength of her social engineering political strategy, if put into effective use once again.


More by :  Dr. Subhash Kapila

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