Will Mayawati’s Brahmin card work this time?
Much has been written about Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s inventive politics that saw her forging an unlikely alliance between Dalits and Brahmins — from the two ends of the Hindu caste spectrum — to win an election in Uttar Pradesh in 2007.
As proof, she gave tickets to scores of Brahmins in 2007 and appointed a Brahmin (Satish Misra) as her chief adviser and strategist.
The move paid rich dividends, securing an absolute majority for her party in a state that last saw single-party rule almost two decades ago.
It also bolstered the chances of her party in the general election. She began being spoken of as a potential prime minister.
But two years have since passed, and there is speculation that all may not be well with Mayawati’s social engineering.
A report says the alliance between Dalits and Brahmins could be fraying at the edges.
This time too, Mayawati has given tickets to about 20 Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, but will that be enough?
Analysts smell disenchantment in the air, given the fact that not much has changed for Brahmins who thought their vote for Mayawati would qualitatively change their lot in a state where the middle castes have by and large held sway over land and jobs.
Secondly, Brahmins are miffed at the lack of access to the Brahmin ministers and lawmakers who seem have ensconced themselves in a cocoon of power and pelf.
So will Brahmin voters extract revenge now, undermining Mayawati’s ingenious politics of caste?
(Reuters photo of Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati releasing the party’s election manifesto in Lucknow March 20, 2009. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar)