Mayawati’s 2007 Uttar Pradesh Victory: Looking Beyond the Limitations of Electoral Politics

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of EPW.


In 2007, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) emerged as the sole majority party in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) assembly elections and Mayawati was sworn in as chief minister. 

Anand Teltumbde sees the BSP’s 2007 victory as a culmination of Mayawati’s clever strategic alliances between Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins. However, Teltumbde is suspicious of  Mayawati’s “political genius” when it comes to the handling of the elections as a vehicle of change for oppressed communities. 

Chittibabu Padavala writes that Teltumbde makes many generalisations that ignore the difficulties that a chief minister faces, such as uplifting backward communities while discrimination against Dalits increases. Padavala believes that Teltumbde overlooks Mayawati’s “realpolitik complexities” and focuses only on her alleged opportunism. 

C K Vishwanath agrees with Padavala, adding that Mayawati also faces the hegemony of neoliberalism. According to him, Mayawati’s ability to provide good governance to people despite the hurdles she faces will determine her future in Indian politics.


A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Mayawati’s Sandwich Coalition, A K Verma, 2007
  2. Mayawati’s Mega Service to the Nation, Anand Teltumbde, 2010
  3. Why Did Mayawati Lose? A K Verma, 2012
  4. Uttar Pradesh: Impact of Identity Politics, Bhavdeep Kang, 2016
  5. Mayawati’s Financial Tangles and the Cost to Dalit Politics, Radhika Ramaseshan, 2017


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—“Elections and Caste”


Curated by Anandita Chandra []

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