Is it the end of caste politics in Uttar Pradesh?

Published: May 23, 2019, 17:11 IST | IANS

The Samajwadi Party that was reeling under the impact of the prolonged family feud, stitched up the alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, putting aside the hostilities of the past

Is it the end of caste politics in Uttar Pradesh?
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati

Lucknow: The caste arithmetic in Uttar Pradesh has fallen flat on its face and the SP-BSP-RLD alliance has nothing left to cheer about. The alliance that was forged in January this year had claimed to trounce the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and, thereby, halt its return to power. The alliance with less than 20 seats has been left powerless. Brand Modi has dissolved that caste arithmetic.

The Samajwadi Party that was reeling under the impact of the prolonged family feud, stitched up the alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, putting aside the hostilities of the past. Its arithmetic was simple -- 40 percent OBCs and 21 percent Dalits in the state would come together to write history.

The Bahujan Samaj Party, which had failed to win even a single seat in 2014 and ended up with just 19 seats in the 2017 Assembly polls, also saw magic in this arithmetic and agreed to the alliance.

The BJP, however, upset all calculations when it focused its attention on non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits. The party quietly wooed these caste groups and turned the arithmetic around.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a class war that replaced caste war when he said, "My caste is the caste of the poor." Besides, Yogi Adityanath further dissolved caste lines with his aggressive Hindutva campaign.

The results of the elections have not only decimated the power of caste politics but have also put a question mark on the future of the alliance. The results clearly indicated that SP and BSP have not been able to transfer their votes to each other and hostile social equations between Dalits and OBCs have prevailed over politics.

While the BSP has benefited from the alliance by ensuring its presence in the Lok Sabha, it is the Samajwadi Party that has emerged as a major loser. Two members of the family, Dharmendra Yadav from Badaun and Akshay Yadav from Ferozabad have lost. This is also a major blow to family politics, promoted by the SP.

The alliance with the BSP and RLD was the sole decision of Akhilesh Yadav as party president and Mulayam Singh Yadav had even voiced his disapproval on the issue. This is the first major election that Akhilesh Yadav has contested without the supervision and presence of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who chose to confine himself to his constituency Mainpuri.

Questions will now be raised on the decision and Akhilesh Yadav may face rough weather within his party in the coming days.

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