While going through what TV Channels,Newspapers and Blogosphere are saying about the coming General Elections one can easily recognise a strong bias against the Bahujan Samaj Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Mayawati. Even liberal feminists do not seem to be happy with the possibility of her rising to the position of Prime Minsiter. Some of the comments I read in Blogosphere include:
"Only over my dead body can Mayawati become Prime Minister"
"My friend said he will jump down from the 10th floor if she became Prime Minister"
" Let us hope Mayawati will loose and thereby the Caste politics end"
' Her house in Delhi is so huge.It is almost a Palace"
There is also similar but less intense bias against regional Parties.
Why is it so? Is Mayawati the worst politician India has seen? Is she [or the BSP] the most divisive force in Indian politics? Is she the most corrupt Indian leader? Is she the worst dictator India has ever seen?
I was confused.
Now let me make it clear.I am not for or against Mayawati. But when there is so much bias against one leader,that too a woman I am appalled.We in India is supposed to have democracy and not feudalism. She is the undisputed leader of a Party which was democratically elected by the electorate of biggest State of India.[If Uttar Pradesh was an Independent Country it will be the 6th biggest Country on the basis of population]
She cannot boast of a pedigree.She is not well versed in English and is not highly educated.Her rise in politics is on her own,fruits of her own efforts. She may be corrupt,dictatorial and casteist ,but that should never be the reason for bias against her as all her opponents are the same. There may be a difference in degree,that is all.
Then I read the op-ed article by Seema Mustafa in the New Indian Express and was relieved to see some one else is thinking like me. Here are some excerpts:[in blue italics]
"It is interesting how the elite suspect, ridicule and demonise those who do not fall in the same special category.
And how the concept of the ‘other’ is created, placed into a stereotype and then used to foment hatred. This is done the world over, with the rich and the powerful being more influential than the poor and the marginalized. It is also done for individuals and political parties that fall outside the acceptance parameters of the elite and currently this prejudice is very much on display in India.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati is facing the brunt of elite intolerance with the English media — print and electronic — reflecting this in more ways than one.........
Mayawati is corrupt they say. And while it is difficult to prove whether she is or not, what about the corruption of those who are in power today and who were in power yesterday? It is true that she flaunts her wealth and those who are acceptable to the elite do not. But was not money made in major transactions by the top politicians in power, either directly or through their sons and daughters? The political grapevine is well aware of these people, with the amounts received in bribes, and the businesses run under benami names known. But this is not spoken of as it involves those that the elite regard as their own, and pass over with a general “oh, all politicians are corrupt”. But there is no vilification of the individual, as there is of Mayawati (or for that matter there was of Lalu Prasad) with the BJP and the Congress being able to easily hide the money spinning ‘enterprises’ of its top politicians from public view.
Mayawati is autocratic, they say. But is the Congress dynasty democratic? Is decision making in the Congress taken by the few or the majority?........
Let me add. Is RSS who decides the major policies of BJP democratic? Can a BJP leader defy the RSS and stay in the Party?
Mayawati is casteist, they say. But is that a crime? Particularly, if the caste is the poorest of the poor, the untouchables who have been discriminated against for centuries? If by being in power, she can ensure that the Dalits are more secure, (a police lathi has not beaten a Dalit to pulp since she came to power) employed and get respect and dignity is that a problem? And are not the BJP and the Congress casteist?
The Casteist nature of BJP is well illustrated in the Budget proposals of Karnataka Government for this year. Congress was always trying too woo various castes including the minorities since Independence to hold on to Power.In case of Mayawati she was able to bring together the Dalits and the Brahmins along with Muslims and form a unique winning combination. Her political acumen has to be complimented.
Mayawati has been in power now twice, she has been in politics now for several years. Has she presided over violence in any part of UP? Like the BJP has, and the Congress has — in Gujarat, in Delhi, in Mumbai, in Karnataka, in Punjab, in Assam, in Orissa, it is a long list. And here one is not talking just of the central governments, one is talking of the state governments of these parties when they were in power. Is the Christian feeling more secure today under the BJP coalition government in Orissa? Or is the Muslim living without fear in Andhra Pradesh under a Congress government?
This is not to say that Mayawati will be the best prime minister. Or even to say that she will be a good prime minister.
This is to say that she will be as good a prime minister as BJP’s Lal Krishna Advani or Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi.
And that if they have the right to lead this country, so does she. She does not speak English well, she does not wear a new sari every day, and she does not have the finesse that makes the elite comfortable.
But she is a Dalit woman who has fought through the prejudice of caste, gender and class and has done so peacefully without the BJP’s violence or support from a dynastic right to inheritance.
It is time for the elite to shed its prejudice and intolerance, and realise that India is best represented through the regional parties. And that if these did not exist, violent struggles would have broken out in different parts of the country as the deprived are learning to recognise their rights and are not willing to be shackled and silenced by a two-party system that does not meet their aspirations and does not recognise them as equals. It is true that everything is not perfect, far from it, but at least the presence of regional parties has been able to open the valve of discontent and give people alternatives that are important and crucial to the strengthening of Indian democracy ".
Bravo....... I cannot resist myself from standing up and applauding Seema Mustafa.