09 March, 2021

Two Elections

The Gujarat polls proved conclusively that identity politics survives decades of single-party rule and developmental diversions.

Two Elections
outlookindia.com
2017-12-16T11:09:22+05:30

Indian elections are always fun with a lot of sound and fury often signifying precious little. But this winter we had two very interesting elections: one in Gujarat and then that of the Congress president. The Gujarat polls were interesting for several reasons. It proved conclusively that identity politics survives decades of single-party rule and developmental diversions. Over 20 years after the BJP conclusively defeated the conglomeration of caste interests (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adi­vasi and Muslim), the Congress designed a potent Patel, Kshatriya, Dalit and Muslim combination, forcing the BJP to bring in the Hindutva bugbear of Pakistan.

Patels, the dominant caste, at times accused of being oppressors, are antithetical to the OBC Kshatriyas, Dalits and Muslims and hence it is not normal for a dominant-oppressed castes grouping to succeed. Yet, the Hardik-Alpesh-Jignesh-Ahmed alliance had caught the imagination of the commentariat. Sure, the exit polls, as I write this piece, have all predicted a decisive victory for the BJP. Yet, this election will prove whether an...

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