Maya of Mayawati

From conversations at the dinner table to chats over drinks or those random telephone conversations, Km. Mayawati has been making her presence felt and how! For sometime now, this BSP leader has been ubiquitous, giving the media enough fodder to last a couple of weeks at least. No one really knows when the next General Elections are scheduled to happen – by the end of this year, or the next. But only if that was reason enough for them to stop predicting India’s doom.


But since everyone seems to have taken to an alternate career in astrology, let’s repeat the question. Will Mayawati really be India’s next PM? Will she really be signing agreements and deals with representatives of other countries? Absolutely not. And I say this, keeping all personal bigotry aside.


Let’s analyse, objectively, Mayawati’s real chances of becoming PM. Now, this would only happen in the event of the UNPA winning the elections. How likely is this? Well, it doesn’t take more than simple mathematics (assuming the addition of whole numbers is simple enough), to see that the UNPA holds only around 84 seats in Parliament, and the possibility of the seats dramatically increasing to a 272+is almost nil. Speaking of the BSP in particular, it holds 17 seats in Parliament – a mere 3% of the total. I’m hesitant to accept that this figure would go up to a 170 next time around!


But then, it’s also true that Mayawati’s charm has grown only after the last elections happened. So, the number of MPs the party currently has doesn’t represent its position in entirety. Mayawati won a landslide victory in the UP Assembly elections and it is a valid argument that UP as a state, counts for a lot in Parliament. Despite all this, it is also true that the elections of the state are always governed by an anti-incumbency factor. Last time around it was Maya, this time it could be Mulayam. Who knows?


Speaking of the BSP’s allies in the UNPA, the Left is currently the strongest with its 60-odd seats. This was its best performance ever. And, looking at the current scenario, they’re definitely not getting another such opportunity. The CPI (M) which had a strong foothold in West Bengal lost the municipal elections to the Trinamool Congress; hence, that’s one state gone! Furthermore, the Left’s image has deteriorated immensely over the past year, particularly in the past month. Most people looked up to the Left-parties and its leaders for their strong ideological stand – a feature most other political parties are devoid of. Alas, the Left has proved that it too, is a ‘political’ group and the realm of politics has little space for ideology. The rigid and inexplicable stand on the Nuclear Agreement (which most are convinced is in the favour of the country), followed by the unreasonable expulsion of Mr. Somnath Chatterjee (Ideology of the ‘Speaker’ doesn’t count, Mr. Karat?), and the partnership with the (in the party’s own words) caste-oriented BSP, has put the Left’s ideological stand under the scanner, with its chances of revival being rather trim. About the other UNPA allies, let’s not spend precious reading and writing time on them, considering a couple of those parties do not even hold a single Parliament seat!


But, suppose by some streak of luck, the UNPA does indeed win the elections. Under this unrealistic scenario, will regional leaders such as Ajit Singh and Chandrababu Naidu be willing to concede the PM’s chair to Mayawati? They may endorse her Prime Ministerial candidature right now, but then that has more to do with capitalizing on her popularity with the media, than genuinely wanting her to lead them.


And Mayawati’s power in media-circles is certainly something to write home about. It is not mere conjecture that Mayawati is nothing beyond a hype created by the media. The Indian media has expanded immensely in recent years, and its obsession – particularly that of the Hindi and regional media – with the underdog has made Mayawati the illusion that she is today.


In his book, The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone, Shashi Tharoor speaks of India’s transformation from a lumbering elephant to a running tiger. If Mayawati rides to the PM’s post on her BSP Elephant, we’d have a lot to worry about.


Till then, let’s look out for other prospective ‘leaders’ to compete with Mayawati. How about Rakhi Sawant?


Rohan Sandhu


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