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BJP has the most diversified representation. See caste composition of new UP assembly

The BJP seems to have overturned the game of rival political parties claiming to be the harbinger of social justice and welfare on their own turf.

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Caste and religion remained dominant factors in Uttar Pradesh assembly election. And the political parties mobilised voters with social engineering and developmental discourse both. Hence, it becomes essential to investigate the social profile of the new UP legislature.

I provide a descriptive analysis of the newly elected MLAs of the state based on religion and caste with the help of previously collected data pertaining to the social profile of candidates. In the run up to the polls, I had analysed the social profile of candidates of SPBJPBSP, and INC along with their allied partners.

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Category of distribution

Figure 1 below provides description of caste/category and religious profile of newly elected MLAs. I have categorised them in five broader categories — upper castes, Hindu backward castes, SC/ST, Muslims, and Sikhs.

Source: Author’s calculation

The figure shows that 151 (38 per cent) MLAs elected are from the Hindu backward castes, followed by the upper castes (131, 33 per cent) and the SC/ST (86, 21 per cent). Total 86 constituencies are reserved for the SC/ST category, and candidates belonging to these communities have been able to win only these reserved seats. All major parties — BJP, BSP, INC, and SP — nominated few SC/ST candidates outside the reserved constituencies. This time, 34 (8 per cent) of the UP legislatures have been elected from the Muslim community despite them constituting around 19 per cent of the state’s population. Though only one candidate from Sikh community won the election, all parties had nominated candidates from the community.

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Party and category-wise composition

Figure 2 below depicts the party and category/community wise share of newly elected MLAs. The 18th UP assembly will have the highest number of MLAs from Hindu backward castes, followed by upper castes, SCs/STs, Muslims, and Sikhs. Within backward caste MLAs, the BJP alliance has 90 legislatures whereas the SP alliance has 60 and the Congress one.

Source: Author’s calculation

Data shows that within the upper castes, the highest number of MLAs are from the BJP alliance. The alliance has 117 such MLAs whereas the SP alliance has 11. The BSP, Congress, and Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) have one MLA each from upper caste category. All SC/ST MLAs have won only in the reserved constituencies, within which, the BJP alliance has the highest number (65) followed by the SP alliance (20) and Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) (1).

All 34 Muslim MLAs belong to the SP. The BJP had not nominated a single Muslim candidate, but its ally Apana Dal (S) had from the Suar Tanda constituency of Rampur district, against Azam Khan. The BJP has one Sikh MLA from Bilaspur constituency in Rampur district.

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Which caste has the lion’s share of MLAs

Figure 3 provides caste/community wise description of MLAs of all political parties. Data reveals that the highest number of MLAs have been elected from the Brahmin community (52), followed by Rajput (49), Kurmi/Sainthwar (40), Muslim (34), Jatav/Chamar (29), Pasi (27), Yadav (27), Bania/Kahtri (21) and so on. Except Muslims, Yadavs, and Rajbhars, the BJP alliance has the highest number of MLAs in each caste.

Figure 3: Caste wise composition 

Source: Author’s calculation

Data also reveals that 19 candidates belonging to the Jatav/Chamar caste of the BJP alliance have won the election despite the alliance nominating relatively lesser candidates from this caste group. The caste group has traditionally been a strong support base of the BSP, but the party wise MLA profile shows that they preferred the BJP alliance this time. The SP alliance had nominated 38 candidates from this caste group but only 10 of them could secure a win. The BJP alliance had nominated eight candidates from the Kori caste and all of them won.

The analysis shows that the BJP MLAs make the most diverse representation minus Muslims. Although, most of its legislatures still come from the upper castes — Brahmin, Rajput, Baina — the party has diversified the overall representation in Uttar Pradesh. This shows that it has taken the long route of deep social engineering coupled with the developmental rhetoric. The BJP seems to have overturned the game of rival political parties claiming to be the harbinger of social justice and welfare on their own turf.

Arvind Kumar (@arvind_kumar__), PhD in Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London. Views are personal.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

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