Mayawati took a central place on stage with federal front leaders lined up for the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy. She looked confident and beaming.
The BJP, on the other hand, has its template set for the 2019 general elections. Current government believes that such is the power and popularity of PM Modi that all opposition leaders are no longer a competition.
It is true that a comparable figure to Modi is missing in the opposition camp. Rahul Gandhi has still not demonstrated that he can stand up to Modi. Mamta Banerjee’s fans have started a chorus for a Bengali PM, but Didi is dominant in Bengal only.
Arvind Kejriwal’s halo has chipped a bit. Sharad Pawar has been PM-in-waiting for years, and now his party exists only in the pocket of western Maharastra. Other faces such as Chandrababu Naidu and Akhilesh Yadav are limited to their regional milieu.
Now, let’s talk about Mayawati. The silent roar of Dalit-Bahujan assertion remains the most formidable cultural and political challenge. Right from the death of the Dalit-embracing Rohith vemula, to Una attacks, cries of revolution from a youth Jignesh Mevani, the Saharanpur attacks to the imprisonment of Bhim Army leader ChandraShekhar, Mavawati is the most powerful demander of equality and liberty.
She has been successively defeated in 2012 and 2017 in UP, but she has a transferable vote not just in UP, but in Haryana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and MP. Furthermore, Mayawati is not just about numbers, she is the symbol of a Dalit woman Prime Minister in 21-century India.
Let’s not forget that as UP CM, Mayawati did deliver effective governance and was remarkably tough on law and order.