Women leaders scale records in piloting political parties

Last Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 12:43

New Delhi: Women leaders across the political spectrum are on a roll as they scale records in piloting their parties.

Ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2014, Sonia Gandhi has just created a record 15 years at the helm unparallelled in the 127-year history of Congress, the oldest political party in the country.

Jayalalithaa has already celebrated silver jubilee as head of the AIADMK of which she became General Secretary way back in 1987 after the demise of actor-turned politician M G Ramachandran.

Mayawati too will complete 25 years of her electoral career next year, coinciding with the emergence of the BSP on the national scene.

Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress is no pushover either.

She has also completed 15 years as head of her party after parting ways with the Congress then led by late Sitaram Kesari.

Banerjee formed the All India Trinamool Congress on January 1, 1998, just two months before Gandhi took charge of the Congress, which was then going downhill.

In the next few months, Sheila Dikshit will complete 15 years as Delhi Chief Minister, a unique feat for a woman leader in independent India.

The achievement of 66-year-old Gandhi is different in that despite being Italian born, she has emerged as the leader having maximum credibility in the ruling alliance and one who could woo voters.

Her declining the Prime Ministership in May 2004 after bringing the Congress-led UPA to power after six long years in political wilderness and instead nominating economist-turned- politician Manmohan Singh for the top job is considered a political masterstroke.

Mayawati, who has remained Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for four times, has made a veiled claim in her autobiography that she was a far bigger leader than Sonia Gandhi, as she has the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family behind her.

Mayawati, who started as a school teacher in Delhi over 30 years ago, has single-handedly won Uttar Pradesh in the 2007 Assembly elections, a task being seen as one of the defining moments in Indian politics.

Both she and the BSP debuted in Parliament in November 1989 when the BSP chief won Bijnore (reserved) Lok Sabha seat in UP in the ninth General Elections. After that, there has been no looking back for her and the BSP.

On December 15, 2001, BSP architect and founder, the late Kanshi Ram, declared Mayawati as the sole heir and political successor of him and the `Bahujan Movement` at a rally in Lucknow.

Mayawati, who is hailed by her party as `Iron lady` and a `no nonsense leader`, has never hidden her ambition to become the first Dalit Prime Minister.

Only recently, she asked her partymen to prepare for the Lok Sabha polls so that the BSP leader could unfurl the national tricolour from the historic Red Fort.

There was an unsuccessful attempt to project her as PM candidate of the Third Front in the last Lok Sabha elections.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has given hints of her ambitions by parting ways with the UPA-II dispensation last year.

A known fighter, the Trinamool Congress leader has created history in West Bengal by ousting the entrenched Left from power. `Bodla Na Bodol Chai` (We don`t want revenge but change) was the slogan of Banerjee as she ended the 33-year Marxist rule, shattering the Left movement in the country.

65-year-old Jayalalithaa too created history in the 2011 Tamil Nadu elections by ousting DMK from power in a landslide victory that saw a decline of M Karunanidhi`s party caught in the 2G row. She has also made known that she wants to play a national role.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj of the BJP is being projected by Shiv Sena, the oldest ideological partner of the saffron party, as the PM candidate.

After the last Lok Sabha polls, Meira Kumar became the first woman Speaker.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 12:42

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