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The women in Indian politics

Elections are on in India, the world’s largest democracy, and it may seem that male leaders rule the roost, but their fates lie in the hands of these powerful women politicians.Sonia Gandhi: the godmother

She’s the leader of the Congress  party and also heads the United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of several Indian political parties which have governed India from 2004 until now. Sonia Gandhi is the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, India’s former Prime Minister, and the wife of Rajiv Gandhi. Both Indira and Rajiv were assassinated in 1984 and 1992 respectively, before Sonia took the reins of the party and steered it towards success. However, both the leader and her party have had to face accusations of corruption involving several million rupees. She was voted one of India’s most influential persons by Time magazine.

Jayalalitha: India’s Imelda Marcos

Jayalalitha is a former filmstar and leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party in India’s southern state, Tamil Nadu. She is an influential leader, who is worshipped practically like a god by her followers. But like most Indian politicians, Jayalalitha or “Amma” as her fans fondly call her, has been accused of corruption. During a raid on her residence, the police discovered several hundred kilos of gold and silver and more than 10,000 silk sarees. The media began calling her India’s Imelda  Marcos, referring to the Philippines’ former first lady, who reportedly had thousands of pairs of shoes.


Mayawati: bringing all the castes together

Mayawati is the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party or the BSP in India’s northern state, Uttar Pradesh. Bahujan in Hindi signifies people from varied backgrounds. Her party aims to represent the downtrodden classes and castes. However, during her term in office as the chief minister of her state, Mayawati planted statues of herself all over the capital city of Lucknow. She was also seen wearing a garland of bank notes worth hundreds of thousands of rupees. She appears to be in love with herself and money.


Mamata Banerjee: pulling her strings

Mamata Banerjee made  a name for herself after protesting with the farmers of Nandigram who didn’t want their land to be sold to Tata Motors for the construction of a car factory. Her party, the Trinamool Congress, came to power in West Bengal, replacing the Communist Party of India, which had been in power for decades. Many saw it as a fresh start, but Mamata’s crackdown on her critics earned her severe criticism from her own vote bank. Even in this year’s elections, her party workers were accused of beating up election officers. However, Mamata may make or break a government by giving or withdrawing support to those seeking to form a coalition in the central government.

Author: Manasi Gopalakrishnan

Editor: Grahame Lucas


30.04.2014 | 15:28