5 Powerful Ladies of Indian Politics
By Himanshu Guru: The present political situation of India is well dominated by powerful women. Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful among all, being the Congress supremo. However Mamata can be recognized as the most powerful lady in West Bengal, Mayawati is the richest CM, Jayalalithaa is invincible in Tamil Nadu and Sushma is the strong leader of Opposition.
Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is the first woman CM of the state who can be well estimated as one of the top powerful woman in present Indian Political scenario. Banerjee founded All India Trinamool Congress in 1997 after separating from the Indian National Congress.
At present she is in charge of nine significant departments of the government of West Bengal, including Home, Health and Family Welfare, Land and Land Reforms, Information and Cultural Affairs, Minority Affairs and Madrassah Education, Agriculture, Power and Home departments. Mamata, who is popularly known as ‘didi’, pulled off a massive win for her party in the state by defeating the world’s longest-serving democratically-elected communist government, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, bringing an end to the 34 years of Left Front rule WB.
She previously served as a Minister of Railways twice, Minister of Coal, and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and Women and Child Development in the cabinet. Power of Mamata can be guessed from the recent FDI and petrol price hike issue. She was instrumental in the rollback of both these concern until a consensus is evolved. She also opposed the NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Centre).
Recently, she forced Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to resign and installed Mukul Roy as the Railway Minister of the country. Trivedi had to pay a price for defying Mamata and going for a passenger fare hike in the Railway Budget 2012-13. Mukul Roy announced a partial rollback in the fare soon after he took the oath.
Mayawati, who is popularly known as ‘Behen ji’ is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh now continuing her fourth term and also the supremo of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents the weakest sections of the Indian society. She is the first Dalit woman Chief Minister in India. She was considered as the richest CM. Finally, the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav defeated Mayawati in 2012 Assembly elections to grab power.
Mayawati had pulled down a stadium to build a monument for the leaders of her party, including herself and a number of elephant statues, the symbol of BSP, spending 685 crore rupees. Mayawati was born in a poor family but miraculously gained power and money. Her birthdays have been major media events, where she appeared laden with diamonds and her supporters have declared the day as Jan Kalyankari Diwas or People’s Welfare Day. She is considered as the savior of the dalits in India now. Mayawati’s assets doubled to Rs 112 crore in the last five years.
Jayalalithaa is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who is popularly known as ‘Amma’ to her supporters. She was a successful film actor in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi before entering to politics. Jaya is a three time National Award winner for her films Pattikada Pattanama in 1972, Suryakanthi in 1973 and Sri Krishna Satya in the same year. She is also the current general secretary of AIADMK.
Jayalalithaa was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and her maiden speech was appreciated by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Jaya had a rift with M.G. Ramachandran, the actor-turned politician and ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and founder of AIADMK, but she tackled it with courage and exhibited her power.
Sushma Swaraj is the current leader of the opposition in the Parliament. She is a former union cabinet minister and a former Chief Minister of Delhi. Under the Vajpayee government, she retained the Information and Broadcasting ministry and had additional charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications.
Sushma Swaraj was the powerful leader who had opposed Sonia Gandhi to be the Prime Minister of India because of her Italian origin. She threatened to shave her head, put on a white saree and eats groundnuts (symbolically mourning) if the Italian-born Congress leader became the PM of India. Sushma is revered in the Parliament for her strong pin pointed arguments and her talent as a strong orator of Hindi.
Sonia Gandhi was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine in the year 2004. Indian National Congress Supremo, Sonia Gandhi is the widow of the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. In 1984, she actively campaigned against her husband’s sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi who was running against Rajiv in Amethi.
Since 1997 she has been the President of the Indian National Congress and also the longest serving president in the 125-year history of the party. She has been serving as the Chairperson of the ruling UPA Govt in Lok Sabha since 2004. Sonia was elected the Leader of the Opposition in the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999 and moved a no-confidence motion against the NDA government led by Vajpayee in 2003. Presently Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful woman in India.
Presently, Indian Politics is witnessing a time of women. ‘Didi’ is ruling in West Bengal, ‘Behen ji’ is enjoying a lavish life in UP, ‘Amma’ is the top power in Tamil Nadu and ‘Madam ji’ is the top decision maker in the centre. Sushma is also not far behind being the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.