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"Mayavati" redirects here. For the figure in Hindu mythology, daughter-in-law of Krishna, see Rati.
Mayawati (cropped).jpg
Mayawati during a press conference
National president of the Bahujan Samaj Party
Assumed office
18 September 2003
Preceded by Kanshi Ram
MP of Rajya Sabha for Uttar Pradesh
Assumed office
3 April 2012
Constituency Uttar Pradesh
17th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In office
3 June 1995 – 18 October 1995
Preceded by Mulayam Singh Yadav
Succeeded by President's rule
Constituency Harora
In office
21 March 1997 – 21 September 1997
Preceded by President's rule
Succeeded by Kalyan Singh
Constituency Harora
In office
3 May 2002 – 29 August 2003
Preceded by President's rule
Succeeded by Mulayam Singh Yadav
In office
13 May 2007 – 7 March 2012
Preceded by Mulayam Singh Yadav
Succeeded by Akhilesh Yadav
Personal details
Born Mayawati Prabhu Das
(1956-01-15) 15 January 1956 (age 60)
New Delhi
Political party Bahujan Samaj Party
Residence Lucknow
Alma mater
Occupation Politician
Religion Hinduism[1][2]

Mayawati (About this sound pronunciation ) (full name: Mayawati Prabhu Das, commonly known as Kumari Mayawati (Miss Mayawati),[3] born 15 January 1956) is an Indian politician who served four terms as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP). She is the national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which focuses on a platform of social change to improve the of the weakest strata of Indian society — the Bahujans or Dalits, Other Backward Classes, and religious minorities. She was Chief Minister briefly in 1995 and again in 1997, then from 2002 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2012.

Mayawati's rise from humble beginnings has been called a "miracle of democracy" by P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Prime Minister of India.[4] In 1993 Kanshi Ram formed a coalition with the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati became the youngest Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1995. She was the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India. In 1997 and in 2002 she was Chief Minister in outside support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the second time only for a year up to 26 August 2003 due to BJP withdrawing support.[5]

Mayawati's tenure has attracted praise and controversy. Millions of Dalits view her as an icon, and refer to her as Behen-ji (sister). She has been praised for her fundraising efforts on behalf of her party and her birthdays have been widely celebrated by her supporters. The rise in her personal wealth and that of her party have been criticised as indicative of corruption.

In 2008, Forbes added Mayawati in the 59th place on its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.[6][7] She appeared in Newsweek's top woman achievers list in 2007.[8] Newsweek also described her as the Barack Obama of India, and a potential candidate for Prime Minister.[9] Time magazine included Mayawati in India's 15 Most Influential list for 2007.[10]

After losing the 2012 legislative assembly elections to the rival Samajwadi Party, she resigned from her post as party leader on 7 March 2012. Later that month she was elected by acclamation to a seat in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament).

Early life and education[edit]

Mayawati was born on 15 January 1956 at Shrimati Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, New Delhi in a Hindu Dalit family.[1][2] Her father, Prabhu Das, was a post office employee at Badalpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar.[3] The sons in the family were sent to private schools, while the daughters went to "low-performing government schools".[11]

Mayawati studied for her B.A. in 1975 at the Kalindi College and obtained her LLB from the Campus Law Centre, part of the University of Delhi. She completed a B.Ed. from VMLG College, Ghaziabad, in 1976.[3] She was working as a teacher in Inderpuri JJ Colony, Delhi, and studying for the Indian Administrative Services exams, when Dalit politician Kanshi Ram visited her family home in 1977. According to biographer Ajoy Bose, Ram told her: "I can make you such a big leader one day that not one but a whole row of IAS officers will line up for your orders."[11] In 1983, Mayawati was awarded her LL.B from Delhi University. Impressed by her speaking skills and ideas, Kanshi Ram included her as a member of his team when he founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984.[12] Mayawati was first elected to Parliament in 1989.[13]

Early political career[edit]

Kanshi Ram founded the BSP in 1984. Influenced by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution of India, the party's primary focus is to improve the situation of Dalits and other disadvantaged groups through police reform, affirmative action on hiring of members of scheduled castes for government posts, and providing rural development programmes.[12] Reservation in India is a system whereby a percentage of government positions and seats at universities are reserved for persons of backward classes and scheduled castes and tribes. Throughout her political career, Mayawati supported reservation in both government and private sectors for backward classes, with an increase in quotas and inclusion of more communities such as religious minorities and economically weak upper castes.[14][15][16][17][18] In August 2012 a bill was cleared that starts the process of amending the constitution so that the reservation system can be expanded to promotions in state jobs.[19] Mayawati's career has been called a "miracle of democracy" by former Prime Minister of India P. V. Narasimha Rao.[4] Millions of Dalit supporters view her as an icon and refer to her as "Behen-ji" (sister).[20] Her public meetings have been attended by large audiences, who use slogans such as "Kanshi Ram ka mission Adhoora; karegi Behen Mayawati poora" (Kanshi Ram's unfulfilled mission will be completed by Mayawati) and "Behenji tum sangharsh karo; hum tumhare saath hain" (Sister, go ahead with your struggle; we are with you).[21]

In its first election campaign in 1984, BSP fielded Mayawati for the Lok Sabha (Lower House) seat of Kairana in the Muzaffarnagar district, for Bijnor in 1985, and for Haridwar in 1987. In 1989 she was elected as the representative for Bijnor, with 183,189 votes, winning by 8,879 votes.[22][23] Although BSP did not win control of the house, the electoral experience led to considerable activity for Mayawati over the next five years, as she worked with Mahsood Ahmed and other organisers. The party won three seats in the 1989 national election[24] and two seats 1991.[25]

Mayawati was first elected to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 1994.[3] In 1995 she became, as head of her party, Chief Minister in a short-lived coalition government, the youngest Chief Minister in the history of the state up until that point, and the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India.[20][26] She won election to the Lok Sabha in two different constituencies in 1996 and chose to serve for Harora.[3] She became Chief Minister again for a short period in 1997 and then from 2002 to 2003 in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2001 Ram named her as his successor to the party leadership.[13]

BSP presidentship[edit]

On 15 December 2001, in an address during a rally in Lucknow, Kanshi Ram named Mayawati as his successor.[27] She was elected national president of the BSP for her first term on 18 September 2003.[28] She was elected unopposed for a second consecutive term on 27 August 2006,[29] and for a third term on 30 August 2014.[30]

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh[edit]

As the Chief Minister, Mayawati gained a reputation for efficient governance[31] and promoting law and order,[32][33] winning praise even from opposition parties[34][35][36] and other rivals.[37][38][39][40][41] In 2007, MLA Umakant Yadav of her own political party accused in a land grabbing case, was arrested near her dwelling on her orders.[42][43] During September–October 2010, at the time of the Ayodhya verdict, her government maintained law and order[44][45][46] and the state remain peaceful.[47] Several high-profile criminals and mafia dons were jailed during her terms in office.[48][49][50][51] She called for strong anti-rape laws.[52][53] Fewer riots,[54] lowest rapes,[55] and least corruption[56][57] occurred during her tenure as compared to previous or successive governments. In the 2007-2012 assembly, only 124 MLAs were crorepatis as compared to 271 crorepatis in successive assembly elected in 2012.[58]

First term, 1995[edit]

Mayawati first served as Chief Minister from 3 June 1995 to 18 October 1995. During this term, the new districts of Ambedkar Nagar district and Udham Singh Nagar district were created.[59]

Second term, 1997[edit]

Her second term was from 21 March 1997 to 20 September 1997. A drive under her government allotted pattas or gram sabha lands on lease to thousands of landless residents.[60] In April 1997, she created Gautam Budh Nagar district from the district of Ghaziabad, Kaushambi district was separated from Allahabad district, and Jyotiba Phule Nagar district from Moradabad district. In May 1997, Mahamaya Nagar district was created out of Aligarh district and Banda district was split into Banda and Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar.[61] Mayawati carried out review meetings with bureaucrats and suspended 127 officers.[62]

Third term, 2002–03[edit]

Her third term was from 3 May 2002 to 26 August 2003. More than 900 officers of IAS, IPS, and PCS cadres were shifted when Mayawati took over as the Chief Minister. This impacted the Chief Secretary, Secretaries, Commissioners, District Magistrates, and police officials.[63] She suspended 12 IAS officers for laxity in carrying out development projects in their regions, including Divisional Commissioners and District Magistrates. Six IPS officers were suspended for failing to maintain law and order, while 24 officers were warned to improve.[64] She started Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University[65] and 511 acre Gautam Buddha University.[66] She suspended three senior officials after review in a couple of administrative divisions.[67]

2007 State and 2009 general election[edit]

Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state and one of its poorest, is considered pivotal in the politics of India because of its large number of voters.[68][69] BSP won a majority in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, fielding candidates from a variety of castes and religions.[70] The campaign was accompanied by a colourful slogan: Haathi nahin, Ganesh hain, Brahma, Vishnu Mahesh Hain: "The elephant (the BSP logo) is really the Lord Ganesha, the trinity of gods rolled into one".[71] The new slogan invited everyone, including the higher castes, to "come ride the elephant", her party's election symbol.[20]

The BSP won 20 seats in Lok Sabha from the state of Uttar Pradesh in the 2009 elections, obtaining the highest percentage (27.42%) of votes for any political party in the state. The party placed third in terms of national polling percentage (6.17%).[72]

Fourth term, 2007–12: BSP absolute majority[edit]

Mayawati was sworn in as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the fourth time on 13 May 2007. She announced an agenda that focused on providing social justice to the weaker sections of society and providing employment instead of distributing money to the unemployed. Her slogan was to make "Uttar Pradesh" ("Northern Province") into "Uttam Pradesh" ("Excellent Province").[73] Her government began a major crackdown on irregularities in the recruitment process of police officers recruited during the previous Mulayam Singh government. Over 18,000 policemen lost their jobs for irregularities in their hiring, and 25 Indian Police Service officers were suspended for their involvement in corruption while recruiting the constables.[74][75] Mayawati instituted reforms to introduce transparency into the recruiting process, including posting the results of selection exams online.[76]

On 10 August 2007, the Mayawati government introduced 30 per cent reservation in jobs in the private sector.[77] A quota for promotions was also introduced, but was later quashed by the Supreme Court of India.[78]

In September 2007, Bhimrao Ambedkar Rural Integrated Development Programme was started for the integrated development of over 17,000 gram sabhas across the State.[79] The Dr Ambedkar Gram Vikas Yojana scheme was launched for provisioning of essential services like water, electricity, and roads in Dalit-dominated villages.[80][81][82] Under this scheme, 24,716 villages received improvements during her four tenures. 2000 villages were chosen in the first phase during 2009-10 for intensive development work 800 crore (US$120 million) were sanctioned for the development of roads, 260 crore (US$39 million) to construct community centres and 10,000 Dalit villages were provided solar sodium street lights. Government reserved 21 percent quota for Scheduled Castes and two percent for Scheduled Tribes in contracts for construction work worth up to 5 lakh (US$7,400) each of various authorities and corporations in the state.[83]

In 2008, Mayawati launched, Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Ji Shahri Garib Awas Yojna, a scheme for building low-cost housing colonies for urban poor with 90,000 low-cost homes under the first round of construction in different towns and cities across the state while a second and a third round were still underway when government ended in 2012 and next government scrapped the scheme including cutting down electricity of these colonies.[84]

Mayawati government started efforts to set up grid-based solar power plants with the help of private sector and first 5 MW solar power plant located in Naini of Allahabad district started functioning on March 2012 and was developed by EMC Limited.[85] UP government signed a MoU with NTPC Limited for 1,320-MW power plant.[86] In December 2007, Chief Minister Mayawati dedicated a 210-megawatt Unit No. 4 of Parichha thermal power station in Jhansi district built at a cost of 1,750 crore (US$260 million), Four 132 kV and 33 kV power transmission sub-stations built in Faizabad, Puwayan (Shahjahanpur) and Gangoh (Saharanpur) while she also laid the foundation stones for the 500-MW (2X210 MW) Parichha thermal power project and 500-MW (2X250 MW) Harduaganj power station in Bulandshahr district to be built at a combined cost of 3,800 crore (US$560 million) and of eight transmission sub-stations of 132 kV and 220 kV capacity which would be constructed at Noida, Greater Noida, Varanasi, Jhansi and Saharanpur at cost of 600 crore (US$89 million). She also aimed for 500 MW units of Parichha and Harduaganj to begin production by 2010 so that there sould be no scarcity of electricity.[87]

Mayawati's dream project of 165 km six lane Yamuna Expressway connected Delhi to Agra through Noida–Greater Noida Expressway, touching 1,182 villages in the state.[88] Later, Indian Air Force fighter jet Dassault Mirage 2000 test-Landed on Yamuna Expressway as Part of Trials.[89] On 15 January 2008, Mayawati laid the foundation stone 1,047 km Ganga Expressway at the cost of 30,000 crore (US$4.5 billion) for joining Ballia in the far east of the state to Greater Noida.[90]

In November 2009, Mayawati dedicated Noida Metro constructed at the cost of 557 crore (US$83 million).[91][92] She had vigorously proposed for construction of Jewar airport near Noida.[93]

In October 2011, Mayawati government under public-private partnership with Jaypee Group successfully executed and delivered First F1 Indian Grand Prix, an international event at Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida constructed by Jaypee Group. The event was hailed as flawlessly conducted salvaging some of India's prestige when compared to minor embarrassments in 2010 Commonwealth Games (Before opening ceremony) conducted in Delhi.[94][95][96] Mayawati presented the winning trophy to winner Sebastian Vettel.[97] Foreigners found the track as 'impressive'[98] and 3 Indian teenagers picked by a F1 panel to train them as future Formula One drivers in Europe.[99]

Mayawati has seen through to completion of several memorials dedicated to icons of Bahujan Samaj build first time in India, including the Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Ji Green Eco Garden (inaugurated March 2011),[100] the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden (inaugurated October 2011),[101] and the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal (opened November 2012).[102]

Mayawati during her tenure directed the all the Commissioners and the District Magistrates to distribute 3 acre land pieces or pattas to weaker sections of society by launching special drive for illegal possesses of pattas be dispossessed of them and the eligible poor be identified by regular monitoring of pattas and strict action against the mafias and musclemen through spot verification of different development and public welfare programmes.[103] She also took steps to ensure possession of land to the genuine people taking strong view on encroachment of land allotted to members of scheduled castes and tribes. In 2010, 5596 people belonging to the SC and ST communities were allotted 1054.879 hectares of agriculture land. In a special drive 74 FIRs were filed and 88 people were arrested for illegal occupation from agricultural land.[104][105]

Sugar Information Service a model website supported by SMS and IVRS facility was developed and adopted by all 116 operational sugar mills was started by the government as the largest rural information technology platform in the country providing a password protected webpage for each of the 30 lakh odd farmers.[106]

Mayawati as her dream project constructed four 'affordable' institutions Mahamaya Balika Inter College in Sector 44 Noida, Panchsheel Balak Inter College in Sector 91 of Noida, Savitri Bai Phule Balika Inter College in Kasna (Greater Noida) and Gautam Budh Balak Inter College at Knowledge Park 5 in Greater Noida at a total cost of 600 crore (US$89 million) having high-tech classrooms with facilities like projectors and electronic screens, laboratories, well-equipped libraries, air-conditioned blocks, elevators, hostels, staff housing complexes, auditoriums and sport complexes. These charge very nominal tuition fees at ₹290 for Classes I to VIII, ₹490 for Classes IX and X and ₹700 for classes XI and XII and registered a 100% pass percentage with a number of 10 CGPAs in the CBSE Class X results.[107] In 2008, Her government established Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University for the Physically challenged students.[108]

Mayawati dedicated the 63.5 crore (US$9.4 million) 286-bed super-specialty Centenary hospital in Lucknow and 50-bed critical care unit at CSMMU.[109] Mayawati, in 2007, launched[110] 500 crore (US$74 million) Manyawar Kanshiram Multi-speciality Hospital in Greater Noida which started its OPD services in April 2013.[111] Mayawati government also spent 510 crore (US$76 million) on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Multi Speciality Hospital in Sector 30 of Noida.[112]

Mayawati government started food tracking system to track mid-day meal scheme to cross-check if children get their hot meal in schools. There is a software based SMS system, where the school principal and a few parents received an automatic message the day less than 50 percent or a large number of school children were served mid-day meal. And this SMS was generated on basis of information on mid-day meal feed by teacher in-charge of the scheme into an online monitoring system. Though principal was required to give an explanation through SMS and parents to verify the claim. This system inspired UPA led center government for starting it nationwide.[113]

Her government also instituted Sant Ravidas Kala Samman Award in an effort to promote cultural activities in the field of art with a cash prize of 1.25 lakh (US$1,900).[114]

Under Savitri Bai Phule Balika Shiksha Madad Yojna, Mayawati distributed over 10 lakh bicycles among Muslim and poor school girls from 2008 to 2011.[115][116]

The nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of Uttar Pradesh grew at an annual rate of 8 to 12 percent between 2002–03 and 2006-07. When Mayawati began her five-year tenure as chief minister from May 2007, the average annual state GDP growth rate between 2007–08 and 2010-11 shot up to 17 percent. In financial year 2011, UP’s state GDP was predicted to grow by 11 per cent. Thus, UP’s nominal GDP growth in these four years (2007–11) was almost the same as what the entire country clocked in that period. State’s per capita income went up by 136 per cent from about Rs 11,000 in 2007 to Rs 26,000 in 2011. UP continued to be one of the few states with a revenue surplus and Mayawati has used this surplus to reduce the state’s fiscal deficit from 4 percent of state GDP in 2007-08 to a budgeted figure of 2.97 per cent for the financial year 2011. Mayawati also ensured that the state’s indebtedness came down from 43 percent of state GDP in 2007-08 to 32 percent in 2011-12. Mayawati in her five years added about 4,000 MW of generation capacity to the state’s power sector. Mayawati also planned to create 7,000 MW more generation capacity by the end of 2012 for achieving her target is to make state a power-surplus state by 2017 for which the state is already executing power projects with a total capacity of 10,000 MW.[117]

After coming to power in 2007, Mayawati wrote letters to the Prime Minister regarding partitioning of Uttar Pradesh into four different states in 2007, in March 2008 and December 2009.[118][119] Finally on 15 November 2011, Mayawati's cabinet approved partitioning Uttar Pradesh into four different states (Pashchim Pradesh, Awadh Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Purvanchal) for better administration and governance.[120]

On 6 March 2012 the Bahujan Samaj Party lost its majority to the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati tendered her resignation to the governor of Uttar Pradesh the next day,[121] thereby becoming the first CM to complete full five years in office.[122] On 13 March 2012 she filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha, and she was declared elected unopposed on 22 March.[123][124]

Personal life[edit]

Mayawati is widely regarded as a self-made woman politician that began a political career at the cost of her own struggle, hard work and capabilities unlike many women politicians in India like Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi that rose to the top due to nepotism and dynastic politics.[125] Mayawati chose to remain unmarried so as to serve people from the weaker sections of society and to ensure that her political opponents would not accuse her of nepotism.[126]

Kanshi Ram praised Mayawati at her 47th birthday celebrations for her fundraising activities on behalf of the party. He stated that the party's eventual goal is to gain power at the national level, and that Mayawati's efforts had helped in that quest.[127] Her birthdays have since become major media events at which she has appeared laden with diamonds.[20] Her supporters have declared her birthday as Jan Kalyankari Diwas (People's Welfare Day). In 2009, the day was marked by the announcement of welfare schemes targeted towards poor and downtrodden people of the state[128] and, in 2010, by the launch of social programmes with a value of over 7,312 crore.[129]

In 2007-08, Mayawati paid 26.26 crore (US$3.9 million) as income tax.[130] She was at number 20 in I-T department's compilation of the top 200 taxpayers' list with names like Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar as they top the list in their respective fields.[131] Most of her income comes as "gifts" from her faithfull supporters of Bahujan Movement started by Kanshi Ram. She paid 15 crore (US$2.2 million) in advance tax in April–December, 2007.[132]

When BSP workers garlanded Mayawati with currency notes on the occasion of the party's silver jubilee celebrations coinciding with BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s birth anniversary on March 15, 2010, Indian news channels and newspapers purported to expose the event as a ‘scandal’ on the presumption that the Chief Minister had publicly committed an act of corruption that was being flaunted openly and declaring that the garland of currency notes was made from money through corrupt means and not from donations of Bahujan Samaj Party supporters as Mayawati, her Ministers and supporters claimed. Media outlets kept daring her to disclose the source of the money but gave her hardly any time to do so propagating their own belief of "ill-gotten money". Each reporter or channel was having its own estimate of the amount of cash woven into the garland in the ranged from 2 crore (US$300,000) to 51 crore (US$7.6 million) even when Mayawati’s supporters kept claiming that it was worth 21 lakh (US$31,000). None of the channels accepted that, making it clear that they were not interested in the issue but only in Mayawati baiting. This all went on viral till next day, when Mayawati came out and wore another garland made from currency notes offered by her supporters and this acted as a 'shock treatment' and, thus, this issue began to be ending. Media channels never lost an opportunity to bash Mayawati as it was titillating for a large section of the Indian middle and upper classes.[133]

At Kanshi Ram's funeral ceremonies in 2006, Mayawati stated that both Kanshi Ram and herself had been, and she would continue to be, observant of Buddhist traditions and customs. She has stated her intention to formally convert to Buddhism when the political conditions enable her to become Prime Minister of India. Her act of performing the last rites (traditionally done by a male heir) was an expression of their views against gender discrimination.[134][135] When she was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, she publicly called Bhikkhus to prayer.[136]

Political and legal issues[edit]

Mayawati's political career has attracted praise and controversy.[127][137] She has been praised for her fundraising efforts on behalf of her party, and her birthdays were major media events as well as a symbol for her supporters. The increase in her personal wealth and that of her party[138][139][140] have been viewed by critics as signs of corruption.[20][141]

Taj corridor case[edit]

Main article: Taj corridor case

In 2002, the government of Uttar Pradesh began improvements of the infrastructure in the Taj Heritage Corridor, the important tourist area in Agra that includes the Taj Mahal. The project was soon riddled with problems, including funds being released for the project without the submission of the required detailed project reports to the environmental authorities.[142] Suspecting there were financial irregularities as well, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided twelve residences, including Mayawati's. It had filed a First Information Report against her and seven others two days earlier.[143] The raid uncovered evidence of assets disproportionate to her known income.[144][145]

In June 2007, Governor T. V. Rajeswar said that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her. In his 23-page order, he said: "the fact that the Mission Management Board, consisting of officers of both the State and the Central Government, regularly met and discussed the project and the fact that even a sum of 17 crores was spent through the Central Government public sector undertaking, NPCC, all go to show that the serious offences with which Mayawati and the Minister were charged do not stand scrutiny."[146] Advocates unsuccessfully challenged the governor's decision in court. The Supreme Court rejected the plea of the CBI and refused to direct the governor to prosecute her. The Taj corridor case was effectively ended before going to trial.[147][148][149]

Disproportionate assets case[edit]

Mayawati's assets run into millions of dollars, with several properties to her name.[20] In the 2007–08 assessment year, Mayawati paid an income tax of 26 crore, ranking among the top 20 taxpayers in the country. Earlier the CBI filed a case against her for owning assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. Mayawati described the CBI investigation against her as illegal.[150] Her party asserted that her income comes from gifts and small contributions made by party workers and supporters.[151][152]

On 3 August 2011 the Delhi High court dismissed the central government's appeal against Mayawati, stating that "she has fully discharged her obligations by disclosing the identities of all of her donors, the gifts had been donated by her supporters".[153] The central government decided not to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.[154] On 13 March 2012 Mayawati revealed assets worth 111.26 crore in an affidavit filed with her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha.[123] The disproportionate assets case was finally quashed on 6 July 2012—nine years later—by a Supreme Court bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Dipak Misra; the court found that the case was unwarranted.[155] Based on an opinion received from the Directorate of Prosecution, the CBI decided not to file an appeal.[156] On 4 October 2012 a review petition was filed by Kamlesh Verma, contending that the case had been dismissed merely on technical grounds, and that the evidence had not been adequately reviewed.[157] On 8 August 2013 the Supreme Court declined a request to re-open the case.[158] After seeking legal advice, the CBI finally closed their file on 8 October 2013.[159]


In her tenures as a Chief Minister, Mayawati commissioned the production and public display of several statues representing Buddhist, Hindu, and Dalit icons like Gautama Buddha, Gadge Maharaj, Sant Ravidas, Sant Kabir, Narayana Guru, Jyotirao Phule, Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, Babasaheb Ambedkar, BSP party founder Kanshi Ram, and of herself.[160] She claims that the expenditure was required because the past governments did not show respect towards Dalit leaders, in whose memory nothing had ever been built.[161] She spent somewhere between 25 and 60 billion rupees (about US$500 million to US$1.3 billion) on projects in five parks and at memorials such as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal and Manyavar Kanshiram Smarak Sthal, built in the name of B.R. Ambedkar, Ramabai Ambedkar, and Kanshi Ram in Lucknow between 2007 and 2009.[162][163][164] In June 2009 the Supreme Court issued a stay against further building on the projects, until the Public Interest Litigation (PLI) questioning these expenditures was settled.[165] The Comptroller and Auditor General of India reported that 66 crore (about US$12 million) in excessive costs had been incurred on the construction of the memorials.[166] In February 2010 Mayawati's government approved a plan for a special police force to protect the statues, as she feared that her political opponents might demolish them.[167] In December 2010, her government received permission to continue part of the plan, namely maintenance and completion of Ambedkar Memorial Park.[164][165]

Despite the existing Supreme Court stay, in October 2011 Mayawati inaugurated the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden, built at a cost of 685 crore.[168] Since the memorial also features her own statues, Mayawati was accused by the Indian National Congress of wasting the taxpayers' money.[169] The BSP dismissed the allegations, stating that her statues were erected because Kanshi Ram's will requested that his statues should be constructed next to those of the current President of BSP. Mayawati accused the Congress of being "anti-Dalit".[169]

In January 2012, the Election Commission ordered that all of the statues of Mayawati as well as recent statues of elephants ( the symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party) should be covered up until after February's Uttar Pradesh election.[165][170][171] On 26 July 2012 the statue in Lucknow was damaged by members of a group calling themselves "Uttar Pradesh Naunirman Sena".[172][173][174] A replacement statue was re-installed overnight by the Lucknow city administration.[175] Following the Lucknow vandalism, there were similar such incidents in other parts of Uttar Pradesh.[176]

In 2015, the Supreme Court continued hearings on the PLI case about the statues. The BSP had still not provided evidence about where the monies expended on such monuments came from, whether it was all from appropriation bills passed by the legislature or also included party funds spent for the purpose.[165]

World Bank criticism[edit]

The World Bank loaned India funds for development, and Mayawati was to manage projects with this money in UP. The projects were preplanned and on schedule, but the Mayawati government made changes which put the projects behind schedule, including rapidly transferring high-caste managers in and out of rural posts.[177] The World Bank sent a letter of complaint on 1 August 2002 to India's central government stating, "We have now learnt that project managers have been replaced within three weeks of assuming office. The project coordinator of the Diversified Agriculture Support Project has been changed twice in quick succession and at the moment there is no project coordinator. In the forestry project, numerous changes have been made over the past six months ... Such developments do not augur well for these time-bound projects that require consistently good leadership."[178] Mayawati initially responded by saying the letter was a fake and later said there had been a misunderstanding. She then decreased the number of transfers, stopped creating new posts, and temporarily reduced the level of government spending on furniture and vehicles in response to the allegations. The World Bank continued to criticise the level of corruption even after these measures had been implemented.[177]

WikiLeaks allegations[edit]

Diplomatic cables published in 2011 through WikiLeaks detailing the opinions of American civil servants asserted that Mayawati ran all governmental decisions through her small group of advisors and that she employed food tasters for security.[179] The leaked messages also allege that she had sent a private jet to Mumbai to retrieve a pair of sandals.[180] Mayawati responded by saying the statements were baseless.[181]

Books on Mayawati[edit]

Studies have been done on Mayawati and books have been published, including her autobiographies. One of the first works was journalist Mohammad Jamil Akhter's book, Iron Lady Kumari Mayawati.[182] Her autobiographies are Mere Sangarshmai Jeevan Evam Bahujan Movement Ka Safarnama in three volumes in Hindi and A Travelogue of My Struggle-ridden Life and of Bahujan Samaj, in two volumes in English.[183] Behenji : A Political Biography of Mayawati is a biography by veteran journalist Ajoy Bose.[11]


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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
13 June 1995 – 18 October 1995
Succeeded by
President's rule
Preceded by
President's rule
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
21 March 1997 – 21 September 1997
Succeeded by
Kalyan Singh
Preceded by
President's rule
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
3 May 2002 – 29 August 2003
Succeeded by
Mulayam Singh Yadav
Preceded by
Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
13 May 2007 – 7 March 2012
Succeeded by
Akhilesh Yadav