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Maya’s magic cuts across caste lines

india Updated: May 13, 2007 05:10 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
None
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It is not just the Dalit-Muslim-Brahmin combination that helped the BSP in the assembly elections. A detailed analysis of caste affiliations of elected members reveals that the party’s support base has gone beyond caste and community barriers.

Contrary to expectations, 51 BSP candidates from other backward castes (OBCs), including four Yadavs, have won. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party has 27 OBC MLAs, including 17 Yadavs. This indicates that non-Yadav OBCs have shifted from the OBC-dominated Mulayam’s party to the BSP.

Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under the leadership of Kalyan Singh, a backward leader, had tried to woo non-Yadav OBCs in a big way. The BJP has won 50 seats. Of these 12 leaders belong to OBC.

It is the same story when one talks about the upper castes, other than the Brahmins. The Thakurs, supposedly traditional supporters of the BJP and the Samajwadi Party, too have favoured the Dalit party. There are 18 Thakurs who have won on the BSP’s ticket. On BJP’s ticket, 25 upper castes have won and the SP has 22 representatives from the Thakur community.

“Had it been just Dalit-Muslim-Brahmin alliance, the results would not have been as surprising. The combination’s tally could not have gone beyond 140,” remarked Kazim Zaidi, a city lecturer.

The 206-member BSP has 51 Brahmins, 24 Muslims and 62 Dalits. The Samajwadi Party has 21 Muslims, seven Brahmins and 13 Dalits. The Brahmins will be the dominant community in the 403-member Assembly. The four major political parties — BSP, SP, BJP and Congress — account for 67 representatives from the community.

This time, Mayawati seemed to have done quite well in the reserved constituencies. Of the 89 such constituencies, the party has 62 seats. In the last two elections, the SP and the BJP had gained the maximum from this segment.

The BSP had fielded four Dalit candidates in general constituencies. However, none of them could make it to the assembly.

The results showed that the Muslims are inclined towards the BSP. “For us, nobody is untouchable except the BJP,” remarked senior advocate and member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Zafaryab Jilani.

In 2002, the BSP could ensure the victory of 14 MLAs. Significantly, this time, “Milli Council, which in the past surveyed each constituency to guide the community, did not issue a check list to avoid confusion about the BSP or any other party,” Jilani pointed out.

Email author: mhasan@hindustantimes.com

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