Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mayawati has a chance to clean UP politics

Mayawati's victory yesterday must rank as one of the most emphatic ones in India. But more than that what struck me most was how socio-political equations change.

Pundits are attributing the victory largely to the way Mayawati, who till now despised upper castes, courted them. The old slogan of her party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party, was "tilak, taraju aur talwar, maro unko jhoote char" (Beat up Brahmins, Vaishyas and Kshatriyas). This time round it was "Haati nahin Ganesh hai... Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hai" (It is not the elephant but Lord Ganesh, symbolising all gods and communities).

We only know the number of people who voted for Mayawati. We will never why they voted. That's always a matter of debate. Pity if a lot of upper caste people voted for Mayawati because she gave tickets to workers belonging to their caste.

Caste rather than development parameters, decide winners in India. We have perpetuated an illusion that a segmented growth pattern on caste lines can see the nation develop. Whatever progress we have made is not because of anyone's caste but because individuals -- of all castes -- have striven against odds and put their talent to good use.

In India, it is not "development" that's the poll plank, but "lack of development". So much so that "lack of development" has become one of the most entrenched vested interests. This is the reason why any development plan is stridently opposed by the political class. This could also be the reason why no one understood young Rahul Gandhi's development pitch, and also why very few voted for his party, Congress.

After so many years, Uttar Pradesh, has a single-party government. The last time was when N D Tiwari headed a Congress government from June 25, 1988 to Dec 5, 1989. Congress never recovered after that; not even now. After that, we have had so many experiments in coalitions: governance by coalition getting overshadowed by governance of coalition.

Hopefully, now Mayawati will not be under coalition compulsions, and will be able to raise politics from its shameful standards to respectable heights. Don't underestimate Mayawati. She has an impressive biodata.

-- Mayawati's biodata
-- Mayawati's social mix


  1. doesn't the fact that Maya took so many Brahmins and other upper caste people in cabinet indicate that caste wasnot BSP's point. If i am not wrong more upper caste people have won with BSP ticket. so what are you trying to say in your post? Where is the caste politics here?

  2. i think u got it wrong, pradeep! The election result proves caste hasn't played a role.

  3. Satish HaldankarMay 15, 2007, 4:52:00 PM

    Mayawati has already squandered the mandate within days of the the election results, whether caste played a part or not. Mass transfers of officials. But the greater wrong was to induct criminal elements into her cabinet.

    One jungle raj has been replaced by another.

    She will be at most a 5 year wonder. In earlier stints, she did not show any administrative abilities. She will rule, but what about the governanace!

    With the Taj Corridor case hanging over her head, she will be arm-twisted too by the centre. And this would be a big hindrance to her dreams of becoming the Prime Minister.

  4. UP politics is a mess because sensible people no more vote. These 5 years will be lost in Maya trying to bury her wrong doings when she was in power last time (Taj corr. etc) and arm twisting Mulayam and his punters. In any case I am an optimist. I would have liked a BJP or Congress govt. Maya is still okay as Mulayam did nothing good for the state. Hope Mayawati takes some lead from Lalu and revives the state as he did railways.