Written by Badri Narayan
|Up to date: September 18, 2020 12:14:52 am

Bihar elections and Dalit politicsMany of the Dalit leaders of Bihar command assist of solely their caste and subcaste members. Leaders corresponding to Ram Vilas Paswan, Shyam Rajak and Jitan Ram Manjhi declare that they’ll switch votes of their caste.

Dalit politics in Bihar has primarily been a politics of negotiation for a “whole lot” from mainstream political events. The “whole lot” meant a very good cut price from the events, both in workplace or within the opposition, when it comes to seats in a pre-poll alliance, and share within the authorities. In return, the switch of caste and neighborhood votes was promised.

This politics of negotiation in Bihar proceeded from the interval that Kanshi Ram recognized because the chamcha age of Dalit politics. Within the post-Independence a long time, Dalit leaders within the Congress and Janata Get together received to share energy as representatives of a caste or neighborhood. Dalit leaders corresponding to Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das rose from the grass roots to grow to be chief ministers in Bihar. Each Shastri and Das belonged to mainstream nationwide events.

Nevertheless, Dalit politicians, who have been working in nationwide events, began to type caste-based events after the 1980s. The section of social justice politics in Bihar gave these leaders the capability and house to drift their outfits and, thereby, negotiate higher bargains with larger events. For example, Ram Vilas Paswan, who was a number one determine within the anti-Emergency motion and the Janata, based his personal social gathering — the Lok Janshakti Get together — in 2000. As Mahadalit politics discovered resonance in recent times, leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi, a member of essentially the most marginalised Musahar caste, cut up from the Janata Dal (United) to type the Hindustani Awam Morcha. Nevertheless, these events haven’t proven any allegiance to ideology — they’ve effortlessly moved from the NDA to UPA and vice versa to cut price for a greater share of seats or ministerial berths. By no means have these events left an alliance or joined one on issues of Dalit empowerment or emancipation.

In contrast to in UP, Dalit politics in Bihar proceed to be depending on mainstream events. The Ambedkarite radical consciousness is weaker within the Dalit politics of Bihar and Dalit assertion on the grass roots continues to be weak. The Naxalite motion, which attracted numerous landless peasants, was the automobile of Dalit assertion until the 1980s, however the rise of caste and social justice politics led to its marginalisation. The brand new middle- and upper-class Dalits wedded the slogan of social justice with reservation and employment. This too weakened the Naxalite and communist mobilisations, which have been focussed on the problem of land.

One other function of Dalit politics in Bihar is that solely the numerically stronger teams among the many 22 Dalit castes have grow to be influencers in politics. They alone managed to get illustration in authorities. Dalits represent about 16 per cent of the state’s inhabitants. However solely the Dusadh, Chamar, Dhobi, Mushahar communities are seen in energy politics. The Dusadhs account for 5-6 per cent of the whole inhabitants of the state and make up 37 per cent of the Dalit inhabitants. Chamars are round 6-7 per cent of the state inhabitants and type 39 per cent of the whole Dalit inhabitants. The Mahadalit castes (19 castes) collectively are round 4-5 per cent of the state inhabitants and are 24 per cent of the Dalits. Musahar, the biggest politically-mobilised Mahadalit caste, gained a voice in the course of the Lalu Prasad years. Different Mahadalit castes are numerically small and but to search out visibility in electoral politics.

Many of the Dalit leaders of Bihar command assist of solely their caste and subcaste members. Leaders corresponding to Ram Vilas Paswan, Shyam Rajak and Jitan Ram Manjhi declare that they’ll switch votes of their caste. Lately, Rajak, trade minister within the Nitish Kumar authorities, joined the RJD whereas Manjhi has moved away from the UPA. Chirag Paswan is placing stress on the NDA management for extra seats within the upcoming meeting election. Nevertheless, earlier ballot outcomes point out that these leaders can not switch greater than 40 per cent of caste votes. At his peak, Ram Vilas Paswan commanded 50 per cent. If these leaders nonetheless command political traction, it’s as a result of they assist the alliance venture the notion that it helps the social justice agenda.

These leaders have additionally didn’t disseminate democratic beliefs inside their communities and behave like feudal leaders, virtually copies of leaders of dominant communities and events. Their failure in creating emancipatory situations for marginal communities has led to the fragmentation of Dalit votes, which in flip has weakened Dalit assertion in Bihar.

The author is professor, Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad

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