Tag Archives: Rahul Gandhi

Birthday Wishes from the Hindustan Times

The Hindustan Times marked Rahul Gandhi’s fortieth birthday by tell us 40 things we “may” not know about “India’s most eligible bachelor”.

Nothing surprising about this. Why, don’t you remember how they told you 54 things about you didn’t know about Mayawati on Mayawati’s 54th birthday six months ago?

See also:
Why Hindol Sengupta Needn’t Fear Mayawati
Happy Ambedkar Jayanti

Rahul Gandhi and the Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh

This article by me has appeared (.pdf) in the Economic and Political Weekly.

On 14 April this year party general secretary Rahul Gandhi launched the Congress’ biggest campaign to revive itself since 1989. The date was carefully chosen, Ambedkar Jayanti, because he is trying to win over dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh (UP). In 1989 the Congress’ support base in UP was made up of a rainbow coalition of brahmins, Muslims and dalits. The Congress has to woo these communities again to regain power in UP.

The brahmin community took to the now ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in small numbers in the 2007 Vidhan Sabha election primarily because there was no strong brahmin leader after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Behari Vajpayee became politically inactive. Brahmins see in Rahul Gandhi a potential “brahmin” leader. The UP Congress president, legislative leader and Youth Congress president in the state are all from the brahmin community.

Muslim support is no longer enchained to the Samajwadi Party (SP) because their bete noire, the BJP, is powerless these days in both the centre and the state. As a result the Muslim vote is being fought for, as a three-way contest between BSP, SP and Congress. BSP head and Chief Minister Mayawati’s stratagem is to therefore change her party’s core support base constructed out of the “brahmin-dalit” alliance into a Muslim-dalit alliance.

The dalits, wooed away en masse by the Kanshi Ram-Mayawati duo of the BSP for years, would be the hardest to win back for the Congress. In fact, a year ago the very idea would have sounded ludicrous. But today, Mayawati’s angry reaction to the Congress’ bid to woo dalits is indication that the Congress may be winning over dalits. How is this happening? Continue reading Rahul Gandhi and the Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh

Happy Ambedkar Jayanti

The Congress Party will use the occassion of Ambedkar Jayanti tommorow to reach out to UP’s Dalits. Commenting on this, NDTV  says, “Mayawati, who knows a thing or two about appropriating the Dalit legacy, is going on the offensive as well.”

Appropriating? Hello! You mean to say Rahul Gandhi is a Dalit and Mayawati a half-Italian, one-fourths Parsi and one-fourth Kashmiri Pandit, trying to pass off as an Allahbad Brahmin and collecting Dalit votes on the side?

Of course there will be other memorable celebrations, but they won’t be as ‘news-worthy’.

UP’s Dalits Remind Mayawati: Democracy is a Beautiful

Party Vote-share Seats
BSP 27.42% 20
SP 23.26% 23
Congress 18.25% 21
BJP 17.5%

The higher you fly, the harder you crash. Kumari Mayawati has just learnt this lesson, and is finally giving her ever-expanding fleet of air-crafts some rest. There was clear evidence before the results were out that Dalits were not going to the polling booths to vote; if they did they wouldn’t be able to press any button other than the elephant. Dalit activists in UP had been telling me this for some time now. There were rumours that the UP police has also informed the administration of this trend. Continue reading UP’s Dalits Remind Mayawati: Democracy is a Beautiful