17 April, 2021

BJP's Attempted Dalit Outreach Draws Backlash From Elite-Caste Votebank

The conflict between the BJP’s Dalit outreach and its attempt to keep its elite-caste core votebank in good humour threatens to unravel the party’s best-laid plans for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A Brahmin protest
Photograph by PTI
BJP's Attempted Dalit Outreach Draws Backlash From Elite-Caste Votebank
outlookindia.com
2018-09-21T18:15:59+05:30

The Rowlatt Act of 1919 has been on top of the reading list of several BJP leaders for the past few weeks, 99 years after the British passed it. The reason for this renewed interest is another Act—the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which has triggered an internal struggle in the party. The conflict between the BJP’s Dalit outreach and its attempt to keep its elite-caste core votebank in good humour threatens to unravel the party’s best-laid plans for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The first few refresher lessons on the Rowlatt Act on social media actually came from some of the ‘savarnas’ or elite castes. Comparisons were made between the “dictatorial” SC/ST Act and the Rowlatt Act. Point-by-point comparison was made between the two—“both allow arrests of Indians without a warrant, both allow keeping Indians in jail for an indefinite period of time, both are dictatorial…” Amid calls to boycott the BJP and choose the NOTA option, a group calling itself the ‘Bharatiya...

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