Polls 2012: 'Queen of her castle' Mayawati refused to mingle
Published: Wednesday, Mar 7, 2012, 7:30 IST
By Deepak Gidwani | Place: Lucknow | Agency: DNA
Outgoing UP chief minister Mayawati scripted her downfall well,
chiefly by alienating herself from the people who voted her to power
in 2007. This gulf of disconnect was perhaps the single biggest
failure of the Dalit icon, whose party, BSP, has been left biting the
dust in the UP Assembly elections, BSP could bag only 85 seats as
compared to its 206 in the 2007 polls.
Mayawati's incommunicado story is legendary, to say the least. Except
a handful of people numbering less than half a dozen at best, no one
could meet the all-powerful 'Behn ji'. To make matters worse, a
coterie of sycophant officers formed a veritable cordonaround her,
making her inure to the outside world. Insiders say these officers
also played on her security fetish to keep her away from the people.
Even her party MLAs, MPs and ministers had to grovel before this
handful of trusted aides for an audience with Mayawati. In the
bargain, she completely lost out on any kind of ground-level feedback
that could seep in from mere mortals, who voted her out on March 6.
While her own partymen agree privately that Mayawati had become overly
arrogant and autocratic in her functioning, top bureaucrats, senior
ministers and party leaders recall how they could "open their mouth
before 'Behn ji' only when spoken to".
Mayawati's obsession with erecting statues, including her own, and
splurging crores on memorials and parks too did not find favour with
people, who obviously thought that the government funds being
squandered thus could be put to better use, say for building schools
or hospitals. But, blissfully unaware of ground reality and popular
reaction, Mayawati went a step further and even raised a special force
for the security of these statues, parks and memorials, only further
alienating her poor voter.
Ultimately, poor governance, squandering of government funds, and
corruption charges added up to ensure a humiliating defeat for the
once-powerful "iron lady" of UP.
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