Mayawati (born 15 January 1956 in New Delhi) is an Indian politician. She served four terms as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP) as head of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which focuses on a platform of social change to improve the welfare of the weakest strata of Indian society—the Bahujans or Dalits, Other Backward Classes, and religious minorities. After losing the 2012 legislative assembly elections to the rival Samajwadi Party, she resigned from her post as party leader on 7 March 2012. Later that month she was elected by acclamation to a seat in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament).
Mayawati's rise from humble beginnings has been called a "miracle of democracy" by P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Prime Minister of India. In 1993 Mayawati formed a coalition with the Samajwadi Party and emerged, at 39, the youngest Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the first female Dalit Chief Minister in India. In 1997 and in 2002 she was Chief Minister in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the second time for a full term.
Mayawati's tenure has attracted praise and controversy. Millions of Dalits view her as an icon, and refer to her as Behen-ji (sister). She has been praised for her fundraising efforts on behalf of her party and her birthdays have become major media events and a symbol for her supporters. The rise in her personal wealth and that of her party have been criticised as indicative of corruption.