“Caste System” BJP’s Secret to Winning Karnataka Elections?

Very recently, India woke up to the news of BJP winning the Karnataka Elections. The kind of discourse that flowed from our very own Prime Minister during the campaigning was unimaginably discourteous. However, it is to note that, if this reduction in the quality of discourse is shaping BJP’s win, what is the secret to it?

BJP’s hidden yet apparent Anti-Dalit and Anti-Minority Semitic agenda seems to have still lured many of the voters, who made BJP win.

“Hindutva” or the ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life stands as a pillar of BJP’s political ideology since its foundation. We live in a land of myriad dichotomies. A Dalit is the nation’s president, which seems nothing but an appeasement tactic. On the other hand, autonomous mobilizations of Dalits are being violently ostracized. 

Dalit politicians and masses are responding to this aggression in different ways. Ms Mayawati has given clear signals of an electoral alignment with the Samajwadi Party, until now the main rival of her Bahujan Samaj Party in UP, to counter the BJP. On April 28, in Una, in the very heart of the successful Hindutva laboratory of Gujarat, more than 300 Dalits, including families of men beaten by cow vigilantes last year, converted to Buddhism.Isolating and attacking autonomous Dalit mobilisations is a key aspect of the Hindutva strategy. It is meant to arrest developments of Dalit politics beyond the framework of Poona Pact between Gandhi and Ambedkar meant to keep Dalits within the Hindu fold through reservations in elected assemblies and government jobs.However, Hindutva’s anti-Dalit tactic is also the assertion of a deeper political undercurrent in Hindu society. This current is the hegemony of Savarnas, namely the three dwija castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaishya)  over the national political alternatives in India. (Newsclick.in)

This rise of Hindutva in its violent and aggressive form, as a phenomenon is not only thought-provoking but dangerous too. Interestingly, Congress got 19 per cent of total votes to 31 per cent for the BJP in 2014 elections. This means that an average Indian who voted for either of the two parties was 60 per cent more likely to have voted for the BJP than the Congress. Among Dalits, the Congress received 18.5 per cent of the votes, while the BJP got 24 per cent of the votes, which means that a Dalit who voted for either of the parties was 30 per cent more likely to have voted for the BJP. Hence, even while going with the overwhelming flow towards the BJP, Dalits as an aggregate were trying to hold themselves back.  Among the so-called ‘upper’ castes, 54 per cent voted for the BJP to a measly 12 per cent for the Congress. Hence, an ‘upper’-caste voter was 450 per cent more likely to have voted for the BJP than the Congress. The BJP got the largest share of its votes and seats from the Hindi belt states of Northern India. It is reported that up to three-fourths of the ‘upper’ castes voted for the BJP in these states.

It is extremely astounding to note, that even in such progressive and modern times the Hindu Caste System is pushing India into a regressive state of mind. The lack of apathy that the upper Hindu castes have towards the downtrodden classes is preposterous. It is this lack of apathy is being used by the BJP to forward its Anti-Dalit and Anti-Minority Semitic agenda in the name of development.