THERE was a time when Mayawati, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh used to roar in the state. The biggest victim was media. She had her own style at press conferences. She used to have the press release ready in hand, stand on the dias, read it out and move on. There was no debriefing session. Even her cronies used to vanish immediately after the press conference. Journalists did do their job but half-heartedly. Mayawati was the Chief Minister of the biggest state of India; it was a compulsion to report her activities under any circumstances. Times have changed. Mayawati has also changed. She is now all honey and milk with the media. A week before the first phase of polls in the state, she invited senior scribes of Lucknow for tea. Amongst them was the editor of one of UP’s top newspapers. Also present at Behanji’s tea meet were two of her closest confidants, Satish Mishra and Ambith Rajan. Just when they sat down at the table for tea, Behanji asked her confidants to leave. Then she asked the journalists: “Tell me, why is it that you portray me as a small player in the elections. Is Akhilesh behind this?” The media persons were surprised; she was told: “Behanji, such decisions come from the bosses, the top management.” Then came the masterstroke from the journalists, “you have never cultivated relationships with either journalist or with media houses. You do not even give advertisements for your election campaign in the newspapers. So how do you think anyone will support you?” The message was loud and clear: elections are business for political parties, so why should newspapers lag behind.