Piloting political parties: Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalithaa, Mayawati, Mamata typify women's power
Women leaders across the political spectrum are on a roll as they scale records in piloting their parties. Ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2014, Sonia Gandhi has just created a record 15 years at the helm unparallelled in the 127-year history of Congress, the oldest political party in the country. She is not alone in representing women's power in the volatile political cauldron in India.
Jayalalithaa has already celebrated silver jubilee as head of the AIADMK of which she became General Secretary way back in 1987 after the demise of actor-turned politician M G Ramachandran.
Mayawati too will complete 25 years of her electoral career next year, coinciding with the emergence of the BSP on the national scene.
Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress is no pushover either. She has also completed 15 years as head of her party after parting ways with the Congress then led by late Sitaram Kesari.
Banerjee formed the All India Trinamool Congress on January 1, 1998, just two months before Gandhi took charge of the Congress, which was then going downhill. In the next few months, Sheila Dikshit will complete 15years as Delhi Chief Minister, a unique feat for a woman leader in independent India.
The achievement of 66-year-old Gandhi is different in that despite being Italian born, she has emerged as the leader having maximum credibility in the ruling alliance and one who could woo voters.
Her declining the Prime Minister ship in May 2004 after bringing the Congress-led UPA to power after six long years in political wilderness and instead nominating economist-turned-politician Manmohan Singh for the top job is considered a political masterstroke.