Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati with Jana Sena party Chief Pawan Kalyan during a press conference, in Visakhapatnam, Wednesday | PTI
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Mayawati and Congress’ Jitin Prasada want to win back the Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, and this race got tighter after the ‘encounter’ of notorious criminal Vikas Dubey. Both want to cash in on the apparent disenchantment of the Brahmins from the BJP’s Yogi Adityanath government.

Brahmins have found a safe home in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for many years now. Will this attempt by the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to woo the Brahmins yield results or be an exercise in futility? My take is that however hard they may try, the Brahmins will not switch sides in Uttar Pradesh.


Also read: Murders, ‘victimisation’, no political clout — UP Brahmins angry after Vikas Dubey killing


Warming up to the Brahmins

Two days after Vikas Dubey’s death, BSP president Mayawati tweeted: “The government should not do any such work that would make the Brahmin community feel scared, terrorised and insecure.”

As for the Congress, what Prasada is doing is merely an extension of the political move that is coming from the party’s top leadership—Priyanka Gandhi has been trying to woo back the Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Prasada, who recently launched the ‘Brahmin Chetna Parishad’ to safeguard the interest of the Brahmin community in Uttar Pradesh, said: “At the moment, data tells us that Brahmin killings are disproportionately high, more than the other castes.”

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Also read: The case against dividing Uttar Pradesh into smaller states


Brahmin appeasement is not a new thing

This is not for the first time that the BSP and the Congress are trying to woo the Brahmins.

Rahul Gandhi has gone too far to prove his Kaul Brahmin ancestry and also found out that he belongs to Dattatreya Gotra. The Congress’ structure is still Brahmin-dominated despite the party not getting substantial Brahmin votes. This is the legacy of the past when the Brahmins were the captive vote bank of the Congress.

The BSP has also gone the extra mile to adapt to Sarvajan politics. It has appointed Brahmins as leader of the party in both the houses of Parliament—Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. I can’t recall any other national party to have ever done something like this. During the BSP government in UP, the Brahmins got the maximum number of cabinet berths. The BSP also fielded largest Brahmin contingent in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in UP. Despite that, all its Brahmin candidates, other than Ritesh Pandey, lost. Pandey won from Ambedkar Nagar seat. The district has around 25 per cent Dalit population and negligible Brahmin population.


Also read: The fundamental flaw in Priyanka Gandhi’s Uttar Pradesh strategy 


But why have Brahmins remained coy?

Notwithstanding their outreach to the Brahmin community, these parties are not getting any traction from them. According to the post-poll survey by Lokniti-CSDS, more than 80 per cent Brahmins in UP voted for the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha election. This is in continuation with the pattern started in 2014 Lok Sabha election, which was repeated in 2017 assembly election.

Only the Congress of yesteryears has enjoyed such loyalty of Brahmin voters. The Congress lost Brahmin support in the 1980s and early 1990s. Political scientist Arvind Kumar cites five primary reasons for the disenchantment of the Brahmins from the Congress and their flocking towards the BJP: 1. the implementation of Mandal Commission report and OBC reservation in central government jobs and educational institutions; 2. the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits;  3. Shah Bano judgment and perceived act of the Congress to appease the Muslims;  4. aggressive assertion of the Dalits and the OBCs in the social and political space, especially the rise of Kanshiram, Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav; 5. proliferation of religious TV serials and resultant religiosity.

After doing some brief experiments with regional political parties, the Brahmins in north India, in 2014, found their ultimate home in the BJP.

The BJP is taking care of some of the main concerns of the Brahmin community. The party has completely stopped the so called Muslim appeasement (Sachhar committee has demonstrated that this is entirely false notion) and rather started persecuting the minority through various means. Some of these methods have the legal-constitutional backing—the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register. Other means include its offshoots indulging in mob lynchings, spreading the communal disharmony in the name of Love Jihad, spewing hate on social media and running campaigns to boycott Muslim traders among others. The BJP has also acted decisively in Jammu and Kashmir by diluting Article 370 and bifurcating the state. Such acts too soothe the emotional wounds of the Brahmins.

The BJP is also working aggressively to restore the old Brahminical caste order by undermining the provisions of reservation in government jobs and education. It has amended the Article 15(4) and 16(4) to tweak the Constitution so that the upper caste candidates can get 10 per cent EWS reservation. Though the Congress and the BSP have supported the Constitution amendment, the Brahmins also know it well that these parties never took any initiative to implement Savarna reservation.

The Narendra Modi government is recruiting a large number of bureaucrats through lateral entry mechanism. This will also nullify some effects of the reservation policy. BJP-led state governments have also placed the Brahmins and the upper caste bureaucrats in key positions in ministries and other institutions.

The Modi government has also tried to nullify the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. In 2018, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had told the Supreme Court that “in 70% of the cases filed under the Act, the accused is acquitted and so these cases are fake.” This assertion of the law officer of the Modi government had led to a judgment that had nearly finished the core objective of the SC-ST Act. After nationwide protests, the government passed a Bill to put the Act back in its original shape.


Also read: On UP’s political turf, a new rivalry is unfolding: Mayawati vs Priyanka Gandhi


BJP marinating the upper cast hegemony

Brahmins have noticed the sincerity and honesty of the BJP in maintaining the hegemony of the caste structure. No other party can match the BJP in this arena as parties like the Congress and the BSP have to cater to other voting blocs too. The Congress can’t shut the door on the Muslims and the Dalits, and the BSP can’t antagonise its core Dalit voters while appeasing the Brahmins. This is a real Catch-22 situation for the BSP as its core voters are ideologically trained to fight against the Savarna hegemony, and if the party goes too far to woo the Brahmins, then there is a chance that its core voters will desert it or may, at least, get disenchanted.

But the main reason why the Brahmins will not ditch the BJP is because in parties like the BSP, they will have a subservient role to play under a Dalit-dominated leadership. The experiment to include Brahmins in the party undertaken by Mayawati in the 2007 UP assembly election is a proof to this.

Today, both the BJP and BSP are trying to catch all, like the Congress of yesteryears. The only difference between the two is that the BJP is wooing without disturbing the core of its political leadership–it still cherishes the primacy of Vedic Hinduidm.

Even if there is a turf war going on between the Thakurs and the Brahmins in UP, the BJP has enough elbow room to placate both the castes. As both the communities can be cajoled to see the Muslims as common potent threat, and be convinced that only the BJP can keep the aspirations of the SCs and the OBCs in control, they will remain loyal to the party. There is no possibility of them joining the BSP or the Congress. Not in the near future.

Dilip Mandal is the former managing editor of India Today Hindi Magazine, and has authored books on media and sociology.

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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. Mandal why do you have so much hatred towards brahmins?… You want ethnic genocide of brahmins or what?… How can you live with such sick mentality

  2. Wow ,Dilip , Wow , Great Job , may god Bless You for all this , Hatred toward Brahmins . After 3000+ years of oppression only Brahmins were to realise the caste system. Just take a look:
    1) The man who helped Ambedkar to go to USA – Brahmin
    2) After Coming back from USA ,The one who helped Ambedkar get job -Brahmin.
    3) Wife of Ambedkar- Brahmin
    4) Man who helped Ambedkar to get his Books Printed and helped him Financially -Brahmin

    No wonder ,you want A large scale Genocide of Brahmins , Don’t Worry , It will Happen soon , Start Making Gas Chambers ,and yellow clothes to Brahmins ,then Burn Ambedkar s constitution and establish dictatorship :-

    My husband is Brahmin ,so tell me ,will I meet the same fate ?

  3. I don’t want to add on the above comments just this that I broadly agree with their premise that this is a reggressive poor article and the author is simply trying to further an agenda of trying to divide the Sanathan Dharma adherants

  4. This is 2020 and we are still taking about caste based politics??? Shameful!
    The reason BJP won is because majority of Hindus have now moved beyond caste. Inter-caste marriages among Hindus are now the norm. Even Svarna-Dalit marriages are now happening. Most of young Hindus don’t even know their gotras. For them their identity is no longer being a Brahmin first or a Dalit first. Their identity is now just a Hindu who is Indian first! And they have found a natural home in the only nationalist party – BJP.
    Ideologically bankrupt parties like Congress and BSP are still stuck in the past when caste politics used to work. Shamefully even media instead of questioning this caste politics plays along.

  5. The author Dilip Mandal is a Ahir or claims to be one. No wonder he has never publicly written about the misdeeds of Yadav rule in UP and Bihar. The non-Yadav OBCs such as Kurmi, Koeri, Nishad and dalits were brutalized during that rule. These groups found refuge in BJP, which propagates the identity of Hindu across all caste groups. Which is why being a Kayastha, I have no problem. Secondly, the author conveniently overlooks the Thakurs, Kayasthas, Non- Yadavs and Non-Jatavs being employed by the Yogi sarkar. Western UP Jats and Gujjars found resonance in BJP. Even Purvanchal Yadavs and Thakurs support BJP. The Brahmins and Kayasthas are heavily pesecuted by SP and RJD, so why will we ever vote for them? During Yadav rule in Bihar, baniyas were robbed in day light. Those Yadav goons even raped the wife and daughter of a bureaucrat. But no, Dilip “Chut*ya” Mandal will not mention this. He is a Yadav supremacist, he is just using the OBC card to get ahead. Karpori Thakor a (Nai/Barber caste) diasgreed with Mandal, because he knew that the dominant Yadavs would finish them off. Therefore EBC was introduced in Bihar. Mandal you’re nothing than a petty man, whose name won’t even be mentioned in footnotes of journalism or history.

  6. This person, Dilip Mandal spreads baseless propaganda.
    a.) Hegemony of cast system:10% EWS reservation is for everyone who are economically weak and don’t have any other reservation. Muslims can also get reservation through it.
    b.) BJP had nothing to do with SC-ST act. Infact, they were the ones who introduced a new bill/act to protect it.
    c.) BJP doesn’t see people according to their caste, even though they may see people according to their religion.

  7. Baseless propaganda. This person, Dilip Mandal spreads baseless propaganda.
    a.) Hegemony of cast system:10% EWS reservation is for everyone who are economically weak and don’t have any other reservation. Muslims can also get reservation through it.
    b.) BJP had nothing to do with SC-ST act. Infact, they were the ones who introduced a new bill/act to protect it.
    c.) BJP doesn’t see people according to their caste, even though they may see people according to their religion.

  8. Bandal and his co congrass journalists are unable to divide Hindus and ensure the FAMILY that is corrupt they ally with is in power. They HINDUS have seen how this GANG of undereducated jhollawallas and rent a journalist have allied with congrass to strengthen anti HINDU proselytizers and remain in power. Now then frustration of this HINDU haters is on display.

  9. Oh good lord what a terrible piece of work.

    Arab appeasement cuts across caste line and not a caste specific issue.

    Slogans like jai bhim jai mim cannot hide the atrocities, mob killing by arabs on sanatanis.

    Current generation of bharat values merit. It doesn’t believe in age old mandal kamandal politics.

    In due course of time what we will see is people giving up on these reservations and letting the needy ones avail it making it economic based.

    Encounter of Dubey has public support because regular people see this as a law order problem and not through caste.

    People like you and rest on the print have an agenda to create wedge between sanatanis, as the latest news print are quite focused on the caste divide.

  10. Why opposition lost UP? Nepotism & single caste based policies of parties.

    Do Brahmins vote as a block? Never.

    Can mandal write without bashing Brahmins & appeasing muslims? Never.

    Bheem + meem =0 .Bcz Dalits know the reality…how?
    Well, Babasheb told it to us.

  11. A party relying on just 10 percent of single state would never have won. The opposition regional parties effectively became single caste parties not serving even others castes of sharing the same socio economic issues i.e. non jatav dalit or non yadav obc which led to bjp coming to power.
    Instead the author keeps bashing a single community due to personal prejudice.

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