Case studies of female political leaders in India

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1 Diskriminierung als Hemmnis der Entwicklung an den Rand gedrängte Gruppen in Indien Case studies of female political leaders in India Dept. Political Science South Asia Institute Heidelberg University Indien-Tagung in Altenkirchen

2 Structure I. Introduction to the cases in terms of Political Career Conditions of the State Party Background II. The 4 individuals Role of male mentor Political identity & agenda Socio-economic background III. Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics

3 Four cases of highly successful female leaders. one from the North Mayawati one pan-indian Sonia Gandhi And, one from the East Mamata Banerjee one from the South Jayalalithaa

4 MAYAWATI Political Career Mayawati: born 15 January 1956 Four terms Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP) as head of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) : became youngest Chief Minister in the history of the state and the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India.

5 MAYAWATI Most populous state in India, with a population of 199,581,477 million people as of 1 March Indian census, about 80% of Uttar Pradesh's population is Hindu, while Muslims make up around 18.4% The literacy rate of the state according to the 2011 Census is 70%, which is below the national average of 74%, men: 79%, 59% for women The State of Uttar Pradesh Sends the largest number of legislators to the national Parliament: 80 seats to the Lok Sabha.

6 MAYAWATI The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Formed 1984 to chiefly represent Bahujans (literally meaning "People in majority"), referring to people from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes (OBC) as well as minorities Mayawati took over as leader of party BSP became important ally in ruling coalitions from New Delhi

7 SONIA GANDHI Political Career Born 9 December 1946 in Italy Member of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty 1998 elected leader of the Indian National Congress She is the fifth foreign-born person to be leader of the Congress Party but the first since independence in 1947 Since 2004 Chairperson of ruling United Progressive Alliance I & II September 2010, on being re-elected for the fourth time, she became the longest serving president in the 125-year history of the Congress party.

8 SONIA GANDHI & The Indian National Congress Party The Importance of the INC as a National Party 2009 National Elections Results In Green the UPA-won constituencies

9 J. JAYALALITHAA Political Career Born 24 February 1948, In 1982, she joined political party AIADMK Became member of the Rajya Sabha elected from Tamil Nadu during the period of first woman to be elected Leader of the Opposition 1991 first elected female chief minister and the youngest ever chief minister of Tamil Nadu 2001 / 02 Second term as Chief Minister 2011 Third Term as Chief Minister

10 J. JAYALALITHAA State of Tamil Nadu Second largest state economy in India as of 2012 Strong Tamil identity & historically strong Anti-Brahmin movements. Political Party: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Founded in 1972 as a Dravidian party Industry-friendly policies plus Social Welfare programmes

11 MAMATA BANERJEE Political Career Born 5 January one of India's youngest parliamentarians Banerjee founded the party All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC or TMC) in 1997 and became its chairperson, after separating from the Indian National Congress became India s first female Railways Minister 2011 Banerjee landslide victory for the TMC in West Bengal defeating the the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, bringing to an end 34 years of Left Front rule in the state. First female CM in West Bengal.

12 MAMATA BANERJEE State of West Bengal India s 4 th most populous state Bordered by the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Majority of the population comprises Bengalis. As of 2001, Hinduism is the principal religion at 72.5% of the total population, while Muslims comprise 25.2% of the total population The literacy rate is 77.08%, higher than the national rate of 74.04%. About 72% of people live in rural areas.

13 MAMATA BANERJEE All India Trinamool Congress Has had more experience as Opposition party than ruling party Part of the Singur Movement in 2006 against land acquisition for Tata car factors in West Bangal Has been in alliance with BJP-led coalition and INC-led coalition Walked out of both coalitions!

14 THE FOUR CASES COMPARED: Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee Role of Male Mentor Political Agenda / Political Identity Mayawati was protégé of BSP-founder Kanshi Ram Sonia Gandhiwidow of Nehru s Grandson, Rajiv Gandhi Jayalalithaaclose to AIADMK-founder M.G. Ramachandran Mamata Banerjeeis the anomaly Fought for the rights of the Dalits. Pro-poor programmes, farmers, labourers, minorities: pan-india Upliftmentof poor sections of society Not so clear Socio-Economic Background Father a post office worker. BA in Education Father a mason Father died when she was 2. Pursuedfilm career in S.Indian cinema Father died when she was young BA History/MA Islamic

15 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics Sonia Gandhi strives to maintain the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. To do this she opted for a back-seat role rather than become Prime Minister. Gender may have helped in so far as being a mother and widow.

16 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics Mayawati receiving a garland of notes Mayawati & Kanshi Ram statues Mayawati remained unmarried and cultivated the Behenji (sister) title.

17 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics Jayalalithaa also remained unmarried and projected herself as a mother-figure. And Mamata Banerjee, also unmarried is known as Didi (sister)

18 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics Matriarchal Authority: Madhu Kishwar (Indian feminist) writes: This is a variation of our family scene wherein many men find it hard to deal with wives desiring equality. But the very same man has no difficulty in accepting his mother as an authority figure or even a wife who begins to assume matriarchal authority. Most women, trapped in dependency, don t often get to be taken seriously. However, when they manoeuvre themselves into a superior position, whether as mothers, elder sisters, grandmothers, aunts or even well established wives, they acquire numerous advantages that accumulate, including certain well defined rights to order and command.

19 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics The Cult of the Goddess: AK Ramanujan (Indian philosopher) pointed out: in India we have two kinds of goddesses the benign consort goddesses like Parvati and Lakshmi People revere but do not fear them. By contrast, there are far more numerous non-consort goddesses who are far more powerful. Avenging a wrong: Jayalalithaa justifies her authoritarian ways and her vindictive politics as the legitimate response of a woman long wronged and exploited by men. Mamata presents herself as a victim of the CPM s dictatorship who will not rest till she has destroyed their power. Mayawati claims to be avenging the collective, historic insults heaped upon the entire Dalit community.

20 Conclusion: Manufacturing Charisma The role of Gender in Indian Politics Women leaders have risen through the ranks to become power brokers in Indian politics which remains a maledominated sphere. Their power does draw upon gender dynamics and cultural resources relating to feminity and womanhood. However, the particular political configurations have also been important in promoting their careers: Tamil Nadu: AIADMK vs. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) West Bengal: TC vs. Communists Uttar Pradesh: BSP vs. Samajwadi Party

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