Caste Equation, Politics and Upcoming Elections in Gujarat


It appears that the Congress Party has started talking to “dissidents” of the caste system. The press reported that one of the famous leaders of SC, ST, and OBC Ekta Manch, Alpesh Thakore, is joining the party in the coming weeks. Alpesh is a known face in Gujarat and has been in the forefront against Brahminism for a long time.

He attended Buddhist events and talked openly about his allegiance to the movement of Phule, Shahu, and Ambedkar. Jignesh Mevani who stirred the state of Gujarat after the infamous atrocity in Una is another important young leader. The Congress party appears to have also approached Hardik Patel, the young leader from the Patel/Patidar community.

While it is up to the caste movements to decide which political side they would like to tilt to, it is sad to see that the wide-ranging movements throughout India are caught up in the bipolar world: either Congress or BJP. The caste movements ideally should have been aggregated as one common force against the oppressive social regime of Brahminism, but alas, it seems that it is either/or situation for them. This is not in favour of the anti-caste movement.

The Congress in the past exploited the very caste system to its advantage to keep its hold on power, but remained exclusively, loaded by the upper castes at the top. Being anti-BJP does not make the Congress party an anti-caste party.

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The ideal party that could have stepped in this situation with its original anti-caste political axis of SC, ST, OBC, and the converted minority was the Bahujan Samaj Parrty (BSP). But, it seems that the party is not willing to step out of Uttar Pradesh.

The caste is the single determining factor in economics and politics in India as the society is completely rooted in the caste system. A Recent study by Shankar Rao showed how the caste system and agriculture sector shows a direct correlation.

The lower caste farmers earn less than the upper caste farmers. There is nothing in India not infected by the caste system and to fight this single dominant factor, the fight against it must be focused and laser sharp. By diluting the fight by playing into hands of compulsory bipolarity in India the anti-caste movement leaders will only harm the purpose of their mobilisation.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale

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