Skip to main content

Appeasement of Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh bypolls with an eye on 2022 elections?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*

While the second phase of Bihar state elections has ended on November 3 and may prove crucial, bypolls held alongside in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and many other places too are not without significance. If they will decide the future of the Madhya Pradesh government, where the Congress rule fell in March 2020 after several of its Congress MLAs switched over to BJP, in Uttar Pradesh they will reflect the public mood for the 2022 elections in the state.
Fight for Brahmin votes in Uttar Pradesh shows how political parties have gone bankrupt on the ideological front. During elections one should appeal to all segments of society, but the way Uttar Pradesh parties have gone out of the way to woo Brahmins proves that all parties feel this one community can make and unmake a leader.
One has only to see how this is happening Deoria, one of the most important districts of Uttar Pradesh. It was a bigger districts which was bifurcated. A new district, Kushinagar, where Buddha died, was carved out by Mayawati, when she was the chief minister to promote the Buddha’s legacy.
Deoria district has over 17 lakh voters with 52% OBCs, 14% Muslims, 15% scheduled castes voters. The 'general' or the savarna (dominant caste) voters are 19%, but politics of the district is dominated by the savarnas, particularly Brahmins and Kayasthas. Deoria Sadar is the assembly constituency where voting took place on November 3 because of the death of Janmejay Singh, a Rajput.
This time, all the major parties in fray have given tickets to Brahmin candidates. Whether it is BJP, Samajwadi Party, BSP or Congress, all of them could not find a 'suitable' candidate from any other community. If this not 'casteism' what what is it? BJP has fielded Dr Satya Prakash Tripathi, while the Samajwadi Party has given ticket to Brahmashankar Tripathi. The Bahujan Samaj Party's candidate is Abhaynath Tripathi and the Congress candidate is Mukund Bhaskar Mani Tripathi.
Deoria has rarely been able to elect a non-savarna candidate -- a strange compulsion that political parties are not even thinking of mobilising different communities and their issues. Deoria remains one of the most backward districts with a large number of Mushahars (a tribal-turned-Dalit community found in the eastern Gangetic plain and the Terai), fisher folk and backward Muslims. Yet political leadership of the four major parties have rarely thought of this. What is the compulsion of political forces to opt for Brahmins, and that too with a particular variety, Tripathi?
While one may wish that these elections spring some surprises, for the people who are victims of caste oppression in Deoria, it does not matter which of the Tripathi wins
One might celebrate some day the victory of this or that party, but the Brahmins will have the 'cake', whether it is BJP, SP, BSP or Congress. Is this the new 'enlightenment' or way to revive Brahmanism, or have our parties gone completely bankrupt ideologically? I am not suggesting that political parties should not give ticket to savaranas or Brahmins. All I am suggesting is, how come, all parties find suitable candidates in just one particular community? Is not it an 'appeasement' of Brahmins?
Deoria appears to have become the symbolism of UP's politics to bring Brahmins back to the political fold. Bramins are 11% of the state population, and after Dalits, it is suggested, they constitute the second biggest chunk. But more than that it their 'influence' which considered important. Right from the loudspeakers on our TV studios to editors at our newspapers, they are in bureaucracy, police and all the services.
All the temples are their exclusive domain, and that reflects their power. While BJP and Congress are traditional parties of Brahmins and their domination, Samajwadi Party and BSP vying for Brahmin votes suggests they seem to have realised that their road to power will be impossible without Brahmin 'goodwill'. One wishes one could understand the Phulel-Ambedkar-Periyar legacy in social movements in political processes, too.
Uttar Pradesh has had a strong Ambedkarite movement. But unfortunately, at the moment, the movement is not in a position to guide BSP, while Samajwadi Party does not have such outfits which can speak of the Phule-Ambedkar-Periyar legacy. 
While one may wish that these elections spring some surprises, for the people who are victims of caste oppression in Deoria, it does not matter which of the Tripathi wins. Their candidature suggests that Brahmins in UP will remain at the top of political structure in the coming days. Indeed, the bypolls reflect the compulsions and ideological failures of our political parties.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

'True decolonisation move': Demand to name new Parliament building after Ambedkar

By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*  In recent weeks, there has been a demand for the new Parliament building being constructed on the revamped Central Vista in New Delhi to be named after the architect of the Constitution and anti-caste leader BR Ambedkar. On September 14, the Telangana Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to name the new Parliament building after Ambedkar. The Bharatiya Janata Party was absent during the debate about the resolution. The next day, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led government declared that the new secretariat in the centre of Hyderabad would be named after Ambedkar. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao added that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to name the new Parliament building in Delhi “Ambedkar Parliament”. The demand is finding resonance among civil society groups too and has led to social media discussions as well as public mobilisation.  But two questions arise: Should a Parliament that makes laws for a nation over a

Government 'fails to take up' Indian migrants' unpaid wages issue with other countries

By Rafeek Ravuther, Chandan Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar*  The migrant workers were one of the most vulnerable sections during the pandemic. India experiences large-scale movement of migrants internally and internationally. After the outbreak of the pandemic, migrant workers continued to face injustice especially in getting wages in expedited manner. In the international context, India, the home of 9 million cross-border temporary labour migrants, carried out the largest repatriation exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Even though the Indian government addressed the immediate requirement of repatriation, it failed to understand and recognise their post-arrival grievances, like back wages, social protection etc. Recently many workers were deported from the middle- east region. Amidst the establishment of grievance mechanisms such as Consular Services Management System (MADAD) and helplines in Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), the unresolved grievances remain high. The number of unresolv