ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political and Electoral Dynamics in Punjab

Given the political churning taking place in Punjab, the electoral scene may remain quite fl uid until the votes are counted and perhaps even after the results are declared. Nevertheless, the current elections refl ect a clear decline of the earlier hegemonies, particularly of the landed aristocracy of the region, which has controlled state politics over the past fi ve decades or so.

Political Churning in Punjab before the Elections

The assembly elections are going to be held in Punjab in February 2022. All political parties are gearing up for it. The Congress party is facing internal conflicts, whereas the Akalis are making a new alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party after breaking their alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party due to the farmers’ agitation. The incumbent Congress government has failed to deliver in terms of its promises and development. Both the Akalis and the Congress will be heavily relying on their mass base. However, a big challenge has emerged in the form of the farmers’ agitation. The Aam Aadmi Party is still struggling with its agenda and organisational basis despite being the main opposition party. The standard parameters of prediction of an election result seem to be non-functional at this moment.

The Making of Punjab’s Dalit Chief Minister

To dismiss the elevation of Charanjit Singh Channi as a mere political gimmick would be wrong.

Kanshi Ram and the Making of Dalit Political Agency

Kanshi Ram worked out an additive strategy of visualising Indian society and argued for an identity-based representational space for communities in the Indian political system. An important implication of such an imagination of the political process was to turn the logic of caste from its existing vertical frame to a horizontal one. However, considering that this vision of democratisation through community-based hissedari in the political domain having confronted a major block, a different language of politics needs to be invented towards an imagination of substantive citizenship or “absolute equality” in the words of Kanshi Ram.

Elections in Andhra Pradesh

The Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, by defeating regional and national parties in the 2019 parliamentary and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, has secured a massive mandate. Its victory in this multiparty contest can be attributed to the padayatra , consistency in the stand for special category status, promise to implement welfare schemes, and its effective campaign.

Gathbandhan Politics: Can the SP–BSP Alliance Succeed in Uttar Pradesh?

While an opposition alliance defeated the BJP during the 2018 Lok Sabha bypolls, it remains to be seen if the SP-BSP combine can win a majority in this year’s general elections.

Mayawati’s Financial Tangles and the Cost to Dalit Politics

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati seems to be focused on settling scores with her former confidantes-turned-foes. Meanwhile, attacks on Dalits are intensifying and the newly-formed Bhim Sena seems to be a greater attraction for Dalit youth in the state.

Third Democratic Upsurge in Uttar Pradesh

The upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh point to an electoral battle between the incumbent Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which swept the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With a decline of identity politics in the state, the major political parties are trying to outdo each other in engineering alliances, reaching out to hitherto neglected, marginalised groups, under the garb of inclusive politics. Sensing an opportunity, these backward groups are turning away from their identity-based political anchors and being drawn towards parties that promise political and economic empowerment, signalling the beginning of the “third democratic upsurge” in UP.

Dalit Politics in India

Dalit political parties in North and Central India have overwhelmingly pursued an agenda of recognition, calling for equal respect, rather than one of redistribution. While this has improved the social and economic standing of Dalits better situated in terms of class, it has failed to substantively improve the lives of the majority of Dalits. Ultimately, Dalits' quest for equal treatment will be limited so long as it lacks a redistributive politics that addresses exploitative economic relations.

Why Did Dalits Desert the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh?

In trying to explain why so many dalits failed to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party, it is found that there are strong "performance effects" that determined voter choice in the 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. In the eyes of many dalits, particularly the young and the well-off, the BSP did not perform well enough on key issues of governance. The strongest effects for performance issues related to corruption and development during the BSP'S rule.

Uttar Pradesh: A 'Mayawi' Revolution

The Bahujan Samaj Party's victory in UP was a culmination of Mayawati's politically clever strategy of crafting an alliance between the dalits and the brahmins. To label it a "social revolution" contradicts the very framework of this alliance as a politically convenient arrangement. Its replication in other states would depend on particular caste configurations in every state. It would also be too premature to read in the BSP's victory the portents of a future "dalit raj" in the country.

Uttar Pradesh: Politics of Change

Whenever in government the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been able to initiate the kind of structural changes that have engendered a qualitative improvement in the lives of the dalits. This has generated a stable support base for the party election after election.

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