Will a Dalit, or “untouchable” become India’s Obama? That is the question being posed by some commentators in the India press after the United States elected their first black president.
One Dalit woman, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh known as Mayawati, is the first person to come to mind. Her astonishing rise from Dalit teacher to head of India’s most populous state has led to speculation she could be a prime ministerial candidate in 2009.
Unlike the United States, which directly elects a president, Mayawati could win power in parliamentary system through negotiations between India’s political parties after the general elections, due by May.
There is evidence her Dalit-based party could become the third biggest party in the election, becoming a