Monday, September 5, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati sent empty jet to Mumbai for sandals: WikiLeaks

Mayawati sent empty jet to Mumbai for sandals: WikiLeaks
AFP | Sep 5, 2011, 01.53PM IST

NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh chief minister and head of the Bahujan Samaj
Party (BSP) Mayawati sent her private jet to pick up a pair of
sandals, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

US embassy cables from 2007 to 2009 released by the WikiLeaks website
in recent days describe Mayawati, 55, as "a first-rate egomaniac" who
"is obsessed with becoming prime minister".

They said Mayawati celebrated her birthday each year by receiving
millions of dollars in gifts from "sycophantic party members, civil
servants and business people" while officials vie for a chance to feed
her cake.

"When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to
retrieve her preferred brand," a cable dated October 23, 2008
reported, adding she employed food tasters to guard against poisoning.

"She constructed a private road from her residence to her office,
which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches
its destination," the cable said in an analysis of her
"eccentricities, whims and insecurities".

It added an account of Mayawati making a state minister do sit-ups in
front of her as punishment for a minor protocol error, and reported it
cost $250,000 to run as a BSP parliamentary candidate due to
"institutionalized corruption".

Mayawati and the BSP performed below expectations in national
elections in 2009, winning just 21 seats in the 543-seat parliament,
but she retains strong support among the poor.

She has often been criticised for extravagance, erecting huge statues
of herself in public parks and being greeted at rallies with garlands
made out of Rs 1,000 (20-dollar) notes.

The unmarried former schoolteacher did not immediately respond to the
allegations made in the cables.

In her current term, Mayawati has run Uttar Pradesh since May 2007 and
was also chief minister from 2002 to 2003.

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