Monday, September 5, 2011

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

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. more