Mayawati (full name: Mayawati Prabhu Das, commonly known as Kumari Mayawati (Miss Mayawati)), is an Indian politician who served four times as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP). She is the national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which focuses on a platform of social change to improve the lives of the weakest strata of Indian society — the Bahujans or Dalits, Other Backward Classes, and religious minorities. She was Chief Minister briefly in 1995 and again in 1997, then from 2002 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2012.
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 been widely celebrated by her supporters. The rise in her personal wealth and that of her party have been criticised as indicative of corruption.
In 2008, Forbes added Mayawati in the 59th place on its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She appeared in Newsweek's top woman achievers list in 2007. Newsweek also described her as the Barack Obama of India, and a potential candidate for Prime Minister. Time magazine included Mayawati in India's 15 Most Influential list for 2007.
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).