Mayawati was born on 15 January 1956 at Shrimati Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, New Delhi in a Dalit family. Her father, Prabhu Das, was a post office employee at Badalpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar. The sons in the family were sent to private schools, while the daughters went to "low-performing government schools".
Mayawati studied for her B.A. in 1975 at the Kalindi Women's 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. 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." In 1983 she acquired 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. Mayawati was first elected to parliament in 1989.
At Kanshi Ram's funeral ceremonies in 2006, Mayawati said they had both been following Buddhist traditions and customs. She has commented that she will 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. When she was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, she publicly called Bhikkhus to prayer.
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. 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. As part of her social reform plans, Mayawati advocates reservation for the poor as well as for the castes and tribes covered by the original reservation legislation. 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. Mayawati's career has been called a "miracle of democracy" by former Prime Minister of India P. V. Narasimha Rao. Millions of Dalit supporters view her as an icon and refer to her as "Behen-ji" (sister). 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).
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. 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 and two seats 1991.
Mayawati was first elected to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 1994. 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. She won election to the Lok Sabha in two different constituencies in 1996 and chose to serve for Harora. 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.
2007: BSP majority
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. BSP won a majority in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, fielding candidates from a variety of castes and religions. 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". The new slogan invited everyone, including the higher castes, to "come ride the elephant", her party's election symbol.
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"). 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. Mayawati instituted reforms to introduce transparency into the recruiting process, including posting the results of selection exams online.
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%). 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. On 13 March 2012 she filed nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha, and she was declared elected unopposed on 22 March.
On 15 November 2011, Mayawati's cabinet approved partitioning Uttar Pradesh into four different states for better administration and governance.
Mayawati has seen through to completion several of her dream projects, including the Manvyar Shri Kanshi Ramji Green (Eco) Garden (inaugurated March 2011), the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden (inaugurated October 2011), and the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal (opened November 2012).
Political and legal issues
Mayawati's political career has attracted praise and controversy. She has been praised for her fundraising efforts on behalf of her party and her birthdays have become major media events as well as a symbol for her supporters. The increase in her personal wealth and that of her party have been viewed by critics as signs of corruption.
Official Website : http://www.bspindia.org
Taj corridor case
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. Suspecting there were financial irregularities as well, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided twelve residences, including Mayawati's. It had filed an First Information Report against her and seven others two days earlier. The raid uncovered evidence of assets disproportionate to her known income.
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 INR 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." 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.