Mayawati - CM of India's most populous state U.P. - makes her debut in Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women

FORBES' The 100 Most Powerful Women

#59 - Mayawati Kumari - Chief minister, Uttar Pradesh, India

"In the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. In 1995, at 39, she was the youngest politician elected to the post and was also the first Dalit (India's lowest, "untouchable" caste) to head a state government. Commands a large following and goes simply by Mayawati. In 2007 she shrewdly built an alliance with Brahmins, and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which she heads, has started to increase its national presence. Some say she could trail-blaze again as India's first Dalit prime minister." - Forbes

Mayawati-led BSP recently withdrew its outside support to the Gandhi-led ruling combine in the country. The magazine said that Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP party and joined its members in vociferously opposing Gandhi's party's historic agreement with the US on nuclear cooperation.

According to Forbes, its annual ranking of the most powerful women measures "power" as a composite of public profile and financial heft. The economic component considers job title and past career accomplishments, as well as the amount of money the woman controls.

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