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Social Engineering OR Caste-based Vote Engineering : Uttar Pradesh Elections — perspective analysis

Vivek Umrao
The Founder, CEO, Editor— Ground Report India

Leaders of suppressed castes are easy to blame

It is God's punishment to be born into a suppressed caste, it is God's blessing to be born into an exploitative caste (upper caste). It is God, not exploitative-castes (upper castes), who makes distinctions between suppressed castes and exploitative-castes (upper castes), so as to maintain order in society so as to fulfil God's purposes in creating it. There were many documents produced to establish the great order of society, which were said to be divinely-inspired or created by God in order to establish and run great social systems to fulfill the purposes of God's creations. Each suppressed caste was obliged to serve exploitative castes (upper castes) with particular works. If a person was born into an untouchable caste, that person will continue doing the job as his ancestors did, without a complaint, while serving the exploitative-castes (upper castes). For centuries, millions of members of each of the suppressed castes had to inherit the conditionings of their specific caste-based societies.

The leaders of suppressed castes are always easily accused of doing caste-based politics quite easily by exploitative-castes (upper castes), but do the suppressed castes have any other choice!!

Social engineering OR Caste-based Vote engineering

During a period of about twenty-seven years, from December 1989 to December 2017, suppressed castes' political groups in Uttar Pradesh had a chance to hold power for about nineteen years. This period of nineteen years with many ups and downs with power struggles helped suppressed caste people to understand the power of caste-based votes in states like Uttar Pradesh, where there are many castes with their own regions of population dominance. The fact that government chiefs were from suppressed castes did not change the dominance of exploitative-castes (upper castes), but suppressed-caste leaders went on becoming experts at power bargaining as time passed.

Because some suppressed castes have been comparatively privileged compared to others, they were able to assert political power using their awareness and assets. Other castes started to demand an increased share of power with the time. The big brothers didn't want this because they knew well that if small brothers were stronger, they would overpower big brothers and big brothers (small in number) would lose their power and follow small brothers (big in number).

Supressed castes never reached a consensus on power sharing, equity, and unity. They began fighting for vote-engineering not for social-engineering amongst themselves as tribes for political power. The exploitative-castes (upper castes) used this to consolidate their power. Therefore, political power was never shared with all, and steps towards social justice were not achieved.

Big brothers forged a nexus with exploitative-castes (upper castes), a small swing in the vote swinging many seats in the assembly, which turned exploitative-castes (upper castes) into the kingmakers of the state and policy controllers, although they didn't head the government. Even though exploitative-castes (upper castes) were not in the political power directly, they controlled political power by swinging their votes from one party to another.

Because of the electoral system in India that determines a candidate's victory by the number of votes received in the constituency. One can win an election in a constituency of one hundred thousand voters by getting ten votes if each of the other candidates gets fewer than ten votes. With a big margin of victory in the constituencies with won seats but many seats lost with small margins, a party will gain a greater number of votes overall but less seats. A party's total vote percentage does not necessarily correlate with its number of seats won. Increasing vote percentages don't necessarily translate into more seats won. Seats swing a lot with small percentage increases or decreases in total votes.

Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP

Prior to 2017, the BJP had been in power for approximately five years during the twenty-seven-year era. During those five years, Kalyan Singh from one of the suppressed castes was the government head for over three and a half years. Before 2017, the last BJP government head was from an exploiter caste (upper caste). Although he was the government chief for a short time, no more than one and a half years, the BJP still did not come into power for the next fifteen years. It was no longer acceptable for suppressed castes to be directly ruled by exploitative-castes (upper castes).

BJP's core supporters are from exploitative-castes (upper castes). Interestingly, when BJP was weak, these castes bargained with the suppressed castes political groups, but their home is always BJP, and BJP knew this very well. So, BJP had been trying to penetrate into castes that weren't getting power share from Samajwadi Party, SP, and Bahujan Samajwadi Party, BSP, parties ruling regimes.

BJP uses Narendra Modi as its biggest trump card to gain votes via Hindu polarization. In 2017, the BJP did not announce the leader of the government before the results of the elections in Uttar Pradesh. Several suppressed castes believed that the BJP would share power with them and the government head would be from them.  With its historic victory in the assembly elections, the BJP swept big brothers of suppressed castes.

BJP chose as head of government a member of exploitative-castes (upper castes). In order to demonstrate power sharing, the BJP created a few posts as deputy heads of government without sharing actual power. The exploitative-castes (upper castes) came to power after a long time. They believed their power was due to the Hindu card. Since they did not see that many suppressed castes were unhappy with their big brothers, they moved to the BJP expecting that the party would share power with them.

Ajay Mohan Bisht alias Yogi Adityanath

Ajay Mohan Bisht alias Yogi Adityanath, the BJP head of government, does not seem to be a smart politician, but a Hindu rightist activist who firmly believes that caste-based systems maintain the structures of society. Due to the strong hierarchical structure of the caste-based system, believing in the caste-system does not lead to a belief in social justice and participatory democracy. He has been the leader of a religious group. It seems he doesn't have the understanding of how to work with the agreement and disagreement of political colleagues, which is fundamental in a diverse society like Uttar Pradesh.

As part of the Hindu nationalist agenda, BJP sees him as the successor to Narendra Modi, the current Hindu trump card, as the next prime minister to continue advancing BJP's agenda. In attempting to follow Narendra Modi's example, Ajay Mohan Bisht alias Yogi Adityanath concentrated on becoming the Hindu trump card rather than attempting to govern with the consensus of various suppressed-castes groups that helped form the government.

The exploitative-castes (upper castes) were long out of direct power. In addition, they strongly believed that a Hindu trump card as Narendra Modi would result in suppressed castes supporting BJP, regardless of the reason. Whatever, they did not realise that the suppressed castes had enjoyed political power for nearly two decades. As a result, suppressed castes have developed a strong desire to share power, especially when they realize that they are large in number and therefore will always be needed for gaining power. exploitative-castes (upper castes) failed to learn from history.

One year of farmers' movement severely damaged BJP credibility. People are starting to realize that BJP does not care for the common man, plays the Hindu card only to get votes, so they are thinking about voting without being influenced by the Hindu card.

In summary, these are a few of the fundamental reasons why a significant number of the 2017 BJP voters are deserting the party, enough to skew the election results. 

Samajwadi Party, SP

There was a time when many third-world societies were heavily influenced by socialism and communism, seeing the USSR as a model. In most of these societies, socialism and communism were based on borrowed, half-cooked understandings, which gave rise to fascism. Socialism cannot be attained through political power, but only by the people of society walking hand-in-hand.

There were many groups that started to move towards socialism through power struggles, but socialism and social justice cannot be achieved this way without the emergence of instinctive intrinsic self-leadership within individuals and societies. There have been many socialist political leaders who have made mistakes at these points, and continue to make mistakes.

From the Janata Party, Janta Dal to Samajwadi Party, the journey towards socialism took place through power centres. Specifically, the biggest weakness was the lack of instinctual intrinsic self-leadership within individuals and societies. Because of the caste system, corruption and hatred have been instilled in the society as essential to success. When suppressed-castes got the power, it wasn't easy to digest by exploitative-castes, so they kept trying to invert the power structure. Countering centuries of caste-based organised social-corruption, working with a bureaucracy completely dominated by exploitative-castes (upper castes), combating election corruption, and satisfying their power lust, suppressed caste leaders took shortcuts of being curroptious. In the end, the groups of suppressed castes (referred to as big brothers above) that reached the power centers enjoyed the privileges, but the rest remained oppressed. The remained oppressed kept supporting these big brothers in the hope they would be sincerely shared power and privilege.

Instead of simply sharing power and privileges with other suppressed castes, the big brothers collaborated with exploitative-castes (upper castes), sharing power with them in order to gain power. They had great fears that if other suppressed castes were empowered by power sharing and privileges, they would overcome the big brothers one day. These types of fears stem from immaturity, a lack of understanding of socialism, a lack of long-term vision, a lack of sincerity and the lack of the emergence of instinctive intrinsic self-leadership within individuals and societies.

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav's reign in Uttar Pradesh was a time when the BJP started to play Narendra Modi, its big Hindu trump card, nationwide as well as in Uttar Pradesh. Furthermore, the BJP had penetrated other oppressed castes in Uttar Pradesh by pretending to share power. The power gain to Akhilesh was not through a long-term struggle, so he lacked the skills of holding other suppressed castes with actual sharing without pretences. He lost the power center to the BJP, but instead of introspecting, he started to blame the unaware public and the BJP's unethical behaviour.

By his actions, it seems he is anxious to get power centres with shortcuts. He seems unable to live without power. Just before elections, he formed alliances with INC and BSP one after another, without the consent of the people and without nurturing followers. Both alliances were broken up just after the loss of the election battles. Both times, alliances were only made to get more seats, not for sincere reasons. It is called social-engineering by his followers, but this is vote-engineering, not social-engineering, social justice, or socialism.

Though SP and BSP should have been interdependent, they were core rivals. With the support of the BJP, Mayawati formed governments. The suppressed caste-groups, who had been with BSP because of Kanshi Ram, aligned with BJP and not SP due to these reasons. However, when it became clear that the BJP's agenda was not sincerely power sharing, they were willing to move to the Samajwadi Party. Even if Akhilesh Yadav does not get enough seats to form the government, he must not lose the opportunity he has got to form long-term bonds with sincere power sharing.

In this way, Akhilesh Yadav could even penetrate Mayawati's core vote-bank, because they would see him as their trusted option and as part of a larger social family of their own. Akhilesh Yadav is very fortunate to have these great opportunities to move with the long-term agenda with sincerity. But, if he sees this as an opportunity only to gain more seats and power, it will probably be the last time he is trusted. The biggest resolution for Akhilesh Yadav should be to remove the TAG  of the Yadav-oriented political party from Samajwadi Party. True leadership means serving all suppressed caste groups, not just his own. He will emerge as a strong leader of all, and will advance long term if he has the vision and maturity to see and understand this.

Bahujan Samaj Party, BSP

Kanshi Ram

Kanshi Ram was a visionary and deeply committed to the empowerment of suppressed caste groups. In search of people who understood social justice, he travelled all over India. He formed different organisations. Through these organizations he worked towards different goals.

  • The All India Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities Employees Federation alias Backward And Minority Communities Employees Federation, BAMCEF, in 1978.

  • Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti, DS-4 or DSSSS, in 1981

  • Bahujan Samaj Party, BSP, in 1984

Kanshi Ram founded the Bahujan Samaj Party, BSP, with various suppressed sections of society. This was in alignment with his philosophy of sharing power and privileges. In order for social justice to be achieved, suppressed sections of society must come together. Many of his colleagues from different sections contributed to empower BSP by working hard. Because of this, Mayawati has served as the head of the Uttar Pradesh government several times.


Mayawati

Whether it was Kanshi Ram's gaffe in the ideology, or whether Mayawati misunderstood the ideology, but Mayawati misinterpreted that being in power is itself social justice. While, political power is only a tool to help move towards social justice, a tool not the goal. As people are becoming more aware, every party is under pressure to demonstrate that welfare works. Working some welfare jobs does not mean you are moving in the direction of social justice or have an understanding of it.

In order to establish a political movement, Kanshi Ram gathered social-activists from different strata of society and nurtured them. As Mayawati preferred yes men, she discouraged mutual trust and nurturing. It is obvious that people who faced suppression for centuries felt happy to see one of them become the head of the government, though they experienced little change or no change in their own lives. Despite the hardships, they were certain that one day, they would lead a prosperous life.

By now, the BSP should have grown across all over India as a strong national party, and should be claiming the Prime Ministership. But, because of fascist attitudes, like not forming second, third, and fourth lines of leadership, making decisions without consent, failing to make sincere and long-term efforts to empower suppressed groups, but collaborating with exploitative-castes (upper castes) to get power (calling it as The Social Engineering). Those are the fundamental causes of decaying BSP. Exploitative-castes (upper castes) were using SP and BSP to consolidate their power and returned to the BJP. Mayawati's dedicated vote bank will not be sufficient to form the government. There is no way exploitative-castes (upper castes) would think to leave the BJP, as it has grown stronger. Mayawati never tried to form long-term bonds by sharing power with other oppressed groups, most of which were with the BSP due to Kanshi Ram's ideology. If Mayawati does not learn from her mistakes, one day, even her core vote bank will start to drift away from her.

Indian National Congress, INC

The thoughtfulness & the perseverance of Priyanka & Rahul Gandhi duo

In Uttar Pradesh, INC has been on the edge for more than three decades. Because INC has been almost continuously in power since independence, power arrogance drove INC and its leaders away from the common people, gradually destroying the voluntary organization Sewa Dal too. Ultimately, it was a death blow. On the ground, INC does not have a strong organization. As a result of power arrogance and the tendency of congress power-leaders to cling to power without giving ground workers a chance, INC suffered a great deal of damage. In Uttar Pradesh, people no longer see INC as an option, keeping INC out of power for over three decades.

Yet, since the last few years, INC has made a concerted effort to change its character, to establish an actual organization. Reaching out to people on the ground. But, the biggest problem for INC is the perception that this party is responsible for India's problems, since it had been in power for decades since independence, and had opportunities to shape both the country and society. Though INC is changing, it is very difficult to overcome the old ways, especially when the other parties blame INC for everything, even for the blunders of these parties.

There is no doubt that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are sincerely trying to revive the INC. There are many battles which they have to fight, including within their own party with leeches, distrust of the people for the party and others. INC has not been in power for over three decades but is blamed for everything. But, the duo seems to want to overcome the mistakes made by INC and do their best for the nation and people patiently. The duo will have to keep making efforts for the betterment of the people with innovative ideas, without giving up, without expecting appreciation. The duo's thoughtfulness and persistence could lead INC to rise like the Phoenix from the ashes.

LADKI HU LAD SAKTI HU (I am a girl, I can fight)

LADKI HU LAD SAKTI HU

Probably, in response to rapes, society's insensitivity toward rape victims, and suppressive patriarchy mentalities, Priyanka Gandhi started a social movement with the slogan *LADKI HU LAD SAKTI HU* (I am a girl, I can fight).

Maybe this movement will not bring political results in the elections, but there is no doubt that this movement strengthens bonds with the common people and empowers half of the population. However, if that movement has any impact on elections, a percentage vote swing in every constituency may lead to the changing of many equations. This is a movement that also engages the people in constructive and participatory politics.

Table-01

Party / Year

Seats

Seats Swing

Vote %

Vote % Swing

BJP





1991

221

+164

34.08%


1993

177

—44

33.30%

—0.78%

1996

174

—3

32.52%

—0.78%

2002

88

—86

20.08%

—12.44%
2007
51
—37
16.97%
—3.11%
2012
47
—4
15.00%
—1.97%
2017
312
+265
39.67%
+24.67%






SP




1993
109
N/A
17.94%
N/A
1996
110
+1
21.80%
+3.86%
2002
143
+33
25.37%
+3.57%
2007
97
—46
25.43%
+0.06%
2012
224
+127
29.15%
+3.72%
2017
47
—177
21.82%
—7.33%






BSP




1993
67

+55

11.12%

1996
67
0
19.64%
+8.52%
2002
98
+31
23.06%
+3.42%
2007
206
+108
30.43%
+7.37%
2012
80
—126
25.91%
—4.52%
2017
19
—61
22.23%
—3.68%






INC





1991
46
—48



1993
28
—18



1996
33
+5
8.3%


2002

25
—8
8.96%
+0.66%
2007
22
—3
8.61%
—0.35%

2012

28

+6

11.63%

+3.04%

2017

7

—21

6.25%

—5.4%

Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022

There have been many improvements in voting systems around the world, but the voting system in India dates back more than a century. Over a century ago, the countries that created this voting system had switched to better representation systems. In India, higher vote percentages don't necessarily translate into more seats won, rather seats could decrease with an increase in vote percentages.

The number of seats can change significantly, even if the total votes change a little. With 0.06% more votes in 2007, the Samajwadi Party lost 46 seats compared to the previous elections. In 2012, despite an increase in votes of only 3.72%, Samajwadi Party got 127 more seats than it did in 2007. In 1996, BSP got 8.52% more votes but did not increase or decrease seats, while in 2007, vote percentage increased was only 7.37% but got 108 more seats than last election, and in 2012 with only 4.52% vote decrease it lost 126 seats.

BJP got 39.67% vote percentages in the year of 2017, even if the vote percentages will not decrease too much, but even a small change in vote percentages could pull BJP below 100 seats, or even despite vote decrease BJP could bag more seats than 2017.

At present, it appears some of the Bahujan Samaj Party, BSP's voters (except inertia-voters) may shift to the Samajwadi Party, SP, seeing BSP as a weak option. Muslims probably will not split their votes between BSP and SP, but rather will vote for SP. A number of small parties of suppressed caste groups are allied with the Samajwadi Party. Some of these parties allied with the BJP in the last election. LADKI HU LAD SAKTI HU (I am a girl, I can fight) may influence women to cast votes for the Indian National Congress, would come from women too who vote for the BJP.

It will depend on whether suppressed castes (including women) vote for which party in which constituency. Votes obtained from suppressed castes will determine which party holds seats. The purpose of this article is not to predict which party will win how many seats, but to analyze socio-political circumstances.

Vivek Umrao 'SAMAJIK YAYAVAR'

Rather than take a job for money after graduating from mechanical engineering and working on renewable energy research, he chose to do volunteer work with exploited and marginalized groups in very backward areas rather than working for a salary.

In India, a PhD scholarship from a European university could be a lifetime dream for a student, but he preferred to work with marginalized communities rather than accept a PhD scholarship from a European university.

He walked many thousands of miles covering thousands of villages over a period of time to obtain ground realities and unmanipulated, primary information. Through these intense marches, meetings, and community discussions, he had direct dialogue with more than a million people before he was forty.

In his work, he has been researching, understanding and implementing concepts of social economy, participatory local governance, education, citizen journalism, ground reporting and rural reporting, freedom of expression, bureaucratic accountability, tribal development and village development, relief, rehabilitation and village revival.

His work in India included establishing or co-founding various social organizations, educational and health institutions, cottage industries, marketing systems, and community universities for education, social economy, health, the environment, the social environment, renewable-energy, groundwater, river revitalization, social justice, and sustainability.

About fifteen years ago, he got married to an Australian hydrology-scientist, but stayed in India for more than a decade to work for exploited and marginalized communities. The couple decided before marriage that they will not have a child until their presence in India is required for the ongoing works. Therefore, they waited eleven years to have a baby after their marriage.

Hundreds of thousands of people from marginalized groups in backward areas of India love and regard him, and even consider him a family member. All these achievements and prestige he had achieved were left behind when he became a full-time father to his son and put his life on hold. Before leaving India, he donated everything except some clothes, mobiles, and laptops.

He now lives in Canberra with his son and wife. He contributes to journals and social media that cover social issues in India. He also provides counseling to local activists working for social solutions in India. Additionally, he is involved with some international peace and sustainability groups.

———

Through Ground Report India editions, Vivek organized nationwide or semi-national tours to explore the ground realities covering up to 15000 kilometres in each one or two months to establish a constructive ground journalism platform with social accountability.

As a writer, he has written a book in Hindi, “मानसिक, सामाजिक, आर्थिक स्वराज्य की ओर”, about various social issues including community development, water, agriculture, ground works, and conditioning of thought & mind. Several reviews say it covers "What" "Why" "How" practically for the socioeconomic development of India.

About the author

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