Wikileaks: India's Mayawati 'sent jet to collect shoes'

Mayawati wearing a garland of 1,000 rupee notes in March 2010 Ms Mayawati has sparked controversy for building statues of herself

Related Stories

The chief minister of India's Uttar Pradesh state sent an empty private jet to get a pair of sandals from Mumbai, leaked US diplomatic cables say.

Ms Mayawati, an icon to millions of low-caste Dalits, rules over India's most populous state which is also one of the poorest in the country.

But the cables on whistleblower site Wikileaks described her as "obsessed with becoming Prime Minister".

Ms Mayawati or her office is yet to respond to the leaked cables.

An official in the state government told the BBC the government was unlikely to respond.

Cables, dated 23 October 2008 and marked confidential, are among the latest set of documents released by Wikileaks in recent days.

"When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand," the cables say.

They add that the chief minister is paranoid about her security and "fears assassination" and employs "food tasters" to guard against poisoning.

She maintains a "vice-like grip on all levels of power" and all decisions must run through her or a small group of advisors, the releases say.

Ms Mayawati has sparked controversy for building statues of herself and other Dalit icons, but she denies encouraging a personality cult.

In the last few years, huge concrete parks have been built in the state capital, Lucknow, and Noida, a Delhi suburb, with scores of massive stone statues of Ms Mayawati dotting the landscape.

Statues of political leaders are generally put up posthumously, but Ms Mayawati says that belief is outdated.

Critics accuse her of self-glorification. She accuses them of conspiring against her.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More South Asia stories



  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents

  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?

  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force

  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath

  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.