Almost like Obama, but kinda unlike Obama, too

Newsweek magazine has Mayawati on its cover in its Indian edition, calling her “The Anti-Obama“.

There are plenty of parallels, it says, between behenji and Barack: both are young, come from a long-oppressed segment of society, ar underdogs and outsiders.

“But unlike Obama, who promised a new politics that would transcend not only race but traditional ideology and corrupt Washington ways, Mayawati has built her power on demagogic class warfare. As her national ambitions have grown, she recently began reaching out to upper-caste voters—but by playing on their fears of the upwardly mobile middle castes, not by appealing to their better, caste-free angels.

“She has accumulated a suspiciously ostentatious fortune, and is dogged by corruption charges. She is admired by many Dalits, but often more for her power and jewels than for her limited accomplishments on their behalf. Her victory, if it comes, may be seen as a great leap forward for India’s oppressed—but, ironically, will end up bolstering the caste system that has kept them in chains.

“Mayawati would likely be a highly divisive national leader—an anti-Obama—and not only domestically. With his Kenyan father, Indonesian stepfather and inter- national outlook, Obama appeals across national borders and has already begun to steer the U.S. away from George W. Bush‘s unilateralism. Mayawati, by contrast, is parochial in the extreme. She almost never speaks about foreign policy, and when she does, her pronouncements are so vague as to be practically meaningless.

“And where she’s been specific, the substance is worrisome: she has decried U.S. efforts to secure Indian support for sanctions on what she’s called “our old friend Iran,” and has promised that a BSP government would renegotiate the nuclear deal India signed with Washington last fall. On trade, she’s sounded sharply protectionist notes, promising to safeguard “the interests of small shopkeepers” and “not to make any policy to benefit capitalists.” She would be—at the least—a wild card at the international summits attempting to repair global capitalism.”

Photographs: courtesy Sindh Today (left) and Weekly Standard

Read the full article: Rise of India’s caste warrior

Also read: A leader whose time has come to cross her legs?

For doyen of dalits, assets is all maya