Life was a struggle as a child, as a girl, then to defy her father, and then she had to fight within the BSP. Destiny had a lot to do with Mayawati for what she is. When she was forced to become chief minister, she had no idea that she would be chief minister. She was made chief minister within 24 hours. Kanshi Ram was in hospital. The government of Mulayam Singh Yadav was collapsing. The BJP and Congress were ready to provide support to Kanshi Ram. They wanted him to become CM.
Kanshi Ram, from his hospital bed, suddenly decided that Mayawati should become CM. Mayawati was weeping outside his room. In my book I have a fantastic piece by Kanshi Ram, a rare piece, where he has said that Mayawati was crying because she was worried that he would die and what will she do without him!
She thought Kanshi Ram was rambling when she found that he was making her the CM. When she went to Lucknow things got scarier for her. When she was in a meeting in the state guest house, she was attacked by Mulayam's goons. Who knows what would have happened to her. They were shouting abuses against the 'chamar' for pulling down the Yadav government.
Mulayam would not mind Kanshi Ram as CM, but for this girl he had complete contempt. In 1994, Mayawati was nothing. She used to get hysterical and shout. In Lucknow, for this Dalit woman who was called chamarin there was so much humiliation.
We must understand the trauma she must have gone through when she was inside that room and all the goondas of Lucknow were at her door. When the door was about to break, no police officer was around. You must remember that her training was not of an ordinary politician.
Part II of the interview: 'Mayawati's voters like her diamonds and silks'
Image: Mayawati offers cake to Kanshi Ram during her 50th birthday celebration, January 15, 2006. Photograph: Dijeshwar Singh/Saab Pictures
Also read: Why Mayawati is wooing the Brahmins