f the 2007 assembly results in Uttar Pradesh reflected the enchantment of the dispossessed with the BSP, the 2009 verdict is an expression of their disenchantment, cutting across caste, community and region lines. The
fascinating results in UP call into question the relevance of caste-based mobilisation, which so preoccupies the media and politicians alike. UP has witnessed many twists and
turns in this marathon election. Estimates of a dramatic victory for the BSP, which ranged from 50 seats six months ago to 40 more recently, have been thoroughly disproved. With only 20 seats in its kitty at the end of the 2009 elections, the BSP has clearly not been able to build on its spectacular performance in the assembly elections. Its social engineering—a mirror image of the umbrella social coalition of Brahmins, Dalits and Muslims the Congress had built in UP in the decades after independence—has collapsed, with both Brahmins and Muslims returning to the original Congress ‘coalition of extremes’.
Arguably, even the assembly verdict in...