A realpolitik appraisal of the ‘Mandal-Kamandal’ fight in UP
The BJP, on the other hand, has always claimed that Mandal-based parties such as the SP have only helped their own causes (for instance, the Yadavs in both Bihar and UP) in the name of social emancipation after capturing power.
The Uttar Pradesh elections seem to be resurrecting the past memories of Mandal versus Kamandal contest only at the level of polemics. After chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath’s claim of the polls being an 80% versus 20% (read Hindu versus Muslim) contest, Yogi’s former cabinet colleague Swami Prasad Maurya, who deserted the BJP to join the Samajwadi party (SP), claimed the election was actually a fight between 85% versus 15% (read non-upper caste Hindus and Muslims versus upper castes). The Mandal-Kamandal binary and its various mutations have defined politics in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for three decades now.
Ticket distribution pattern does not endorse either 80-20 or 85-15 contest
Political power is key to upward mobility of the social elite
With the Indian economy having lost higher growth momentum of the past decade, and given the shrinking footprint of the state in the economy, it will become even more difficult for the entrenched sociopolitical elite to accommodate the aspirations of their strategic allies from non-dominant social groups. It means that political conflict and perhaps the revolving doors for non-dominant caste allies are unlikely to end anytime soon in India.