Two powerful women politicians joined (or could join) Twitter within four weeks of each other — Mayawati and Priyanka Gandhi.
One a grizzled veteran of four decades, the other a debutante. So why am I lumping them together here? Because they could deliver a shock to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in less than 100 days.
I hate to say “I told you so,” but another part of me loves to show
Now Mayawati’s political resurgence is nothing short of miraculous. In 2014, the Modi wave had decimated, leaving her without a seat in Lok Sabha. Even as the Samajwadi Party (five seats) and Congress (two seats from Amethi and Rae Bareilly) had held on to their bastions, Mayawati had crumbled without a trace. But three years later, in the “Modi, Shah and belatedly Yogi Adityanath” tsunami of 2017, even as her tally plummeted to just 19 seats in the Assembly, her vote share stayed at a robust 22.23%. And six months later, in the local body polls, she actually won mayoral seats from Aligarh and Meerut.
So this conclusion is inescapable: if UP does see an unprecedented one-on-one contest between NDA and a freshly minted Mayawati + SP + Congress alliance, NDA’s countrywide tally could drop to 200-220 (BJP alone could fall to 170-200), putting UPA + Mamata + DMK within striking distance of the majority mark of 272 in Lok Sabha in 2019.
The arithmetic may be irrefutable, but Mayawati is not. She is unpredictable. Remember what she did on 17 April 1999? She committed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the morning that she would support him against the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha. Vajpayee relaxed and proclaimed his victory. But just a few hours out, on the floor of the house, she did an audacious political somersault and voted against the government. When the final votes were counted, it was 270 to 269, against the government. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had lost by an unprecedented single vote.
How do you fathom the mind of a nondescript school teacher who rose from the slums of Delhi to become the first Dalit woman chief minister of India’s largest state!