News You Really Need To See: “India’s Political Queen-Makers”

“India’s Political Queen-Makers”

The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 30, 2014, p.A9

When one of India’s larger-than-life politicians, Jayaram Jayalalithaa, arrived in this southern city recently, 30 or so of her most fervent followers greeted her by prostrating themselves in the dirt as her helicopter landed.  Ms. Jayalalithaa, a former movie star, leads one of India’s most popular regional political parties.  She is one of three regional power brokers,—all of whom are women who will likely play a central role shaping India’s next government when national elections end in mid-May.  The reason: Neither major national party—the front-runner Bharatiya Janata Party nor the Congress party—is expected to win a parliamentary majority.  Support from regional figures like Ms. Jayalalithaa could make or break any coalition government.  The other two women are Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal and Kumari Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh.  Together, the three dominate a chunk of India that is home to nearly 30% of India’s 543 parliamentary seats. … All three expect big things in return for political support.  Ms. Jayalalithaa, perhaps, has the highest aspirations: She has said she would like to become prime minister.  In the past, from her base here in the state of Tamil Nadu, she has formed alliances with both major parties.

Quickie Analysis:  Very interesting look at internal Indian politics.

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