Subalterns in Uttar Pradesh: A New Trajectory

The subalterns in Uttar Pradesh - dalit bahujans - are not a homogenised social denomination. They themselves are a highly differentiated and hierarchical social bloc facing intra-caste discrimination. The elites amongst the dalit bahujans are taking advantage of their numbers to claim continuance of reservation benefits and affirmative action programmes without showing any inclination to pass them on to the marginalised.

With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) less than two years away, subalterns or dalit bahujans, i e, scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SCs/STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) seem to be taking a new trajectory, a development that may change the state’s electoral face.

The emergence of caste parties – the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of dalits and Samajwadi Party (SP) of OBCs – owing to the fragmentation of the electorate based on social cleavages against the backdrop of mobilisation by the All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) And Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) and Dalit Soshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti (DS-4) – and the “second democratic upsurge” leading to mandal, have since defined rules of the game.

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