A ‘Kashmiri’ ‘Gurjar’ ‘Muslim’ is contesting the Dausa Lok Sabha seat. As an independent. For the simple reason that after delimitation, Dausa became a reserved constituency. Rerseved for the Scheduled Tribes. Meenas are ST’s. Gurjars wanted to be ST’s. Not only didn’t they not get that, they were deprived of Dausa, where the feudal PIlots had been Gurjar kings.
So someone thought of this simple idea: get a Kashmiri Gurjar. Kashmiri Gurjars are ST’s.
That candidate is campaigning around Dausa, and I gather that even the Brahmins of the area are supporting him! Him! A Kashmiri Muslim Gurjar!
Why? For the reason that they don’t want to let a Meena win. Political party notwithstanding.
This kind of phenomenon, of people turning against the dominant caste, was seen in the Rajasthan Assembly elections. Hindus forgot communal polarisation and voted for a Muslim to defeat a Jat. A member of a little known Scheduled Tribe won because nobody wanted the Meena to win.
So far, did you hear the name of any political party?
Okay, let’s have an example where we will talk parties.
In Uttar Pradesh, a CSDS survey said only 17% Brahmins voted for the BSP. Surprised? The media created the impression that Brahmins voted BSP in large numbers.
They did. Only in the constituencies where the BSP candidate was a Brahmin.
Well, ok, some Kanyakubja Brahmins perhaps voted in other places too. But the Saryupari Brahmins have much less love for the BSP because the BSP’s Brahmin mascot, Satish Chandra Mishra, is a Kanyakubja Brahmin.
Welcome to post-Mandal India. Political parties don’t contest elections. Castes contest elections through political parties.
Castes vote for a candidate of their own caste, sub-caste or gotra… “My gotra has seven villages, his gotra only two,” I heard from one candidate recently.
And how does the media report elections? It does by focusing on ‘star’ candidates, on tu-tu-main-main soundbytes, by opinion polls conducted even before candidates are announced, by making broad presumptions such as ‘Muslims are going to vote for Congress’.
It’s not as if journalists don’t know that elections are fought constituency by constituency, or that caste politics is not as simple as A plus B plus C, or that the first-past-the-poll system of elections makes opinion poll calculation of seats based on ‘swings’ meaningless.
Just that real election reporting is not sexy copy; the reader/viewer, who is middle class, is not interested in caste (presumably), because soundbytes, farcical controversies and visual-created news events make people hook to the TV channel and bring TRPs.
Let’s continue to imagine our world as the commercial media presents it to us. The real India, the real elections, are way too depressing, disturbing, disenchanting.
Let us celebrate our collective ignorance, let us watch our star anchors reflect our anger and rage, and let us continue to sip our wine.
How does it matter who becomes PM? Our lives will be the same.
Can’t the election commission let me vote through sms? One of the TV channels can help them. Going to a polling booth is just not worth it.