National parties fight to the finish
I just got back from a trip. Regular blogging will start now.
The most accurate poll observer award
The Reality Check poll observer award goes to (drumroll) Chandrabhan Prasad. Forget all the CNN-IBN, NDTV, Zee, exit pollsters. Look at what he predicted a week before counting started. See his article “Age of OBC Isolation” in the Daily Pioneer
After a three week long sojourn in UP, I can make yet another risk-free prediction – OBCs are going to face a political isolation in the Hindi heartland.
Strange as it may appear, the OBC claiming Mandal legacy or the legacy of social justice in particular are not at all wanted. Any party advocating the Mandal will face a sure marginalisation. The Congress had better watch this.
My take on the current UP caste combo
The UP election results have put some smiles on the faces of brahmins and other upper castes. Is the unlikely Dalit / Brahmin partnership going to be a trend ? Historically, the Dalit / Brahmin interaction has been minimal. Now, for the first time, circumstances have pushed them onto a common platform. Do we see a great opportunity here to sound the death knell for the caste system ? Is this the way to snatch the social initiative from vested interests and secular casteists ? I think this is a golden opportunity. The brahmins must come forward in UP and take steps to enhance the ritual status of Dalits as a first step. The bonds must strengthen further. Lets see.
Effect of narrowing interests - death to national parties
I have mentioned Mancur Olsen several times in this blog (just search using the box on the right). His landmark book “The Rise and Decline of Nations” seems to be playing out in India in live action. In this book there is this theory. When there are two choices – one which works for the whole and another that works exclusively for your group. The choice is clear. It is a no contest. Working for the whole is too much work, for a disproportionately small share of the benefits. It is like asking for primary education for all.
The OBC quota issue represents the latest form of narrowing of interests. Instead of working for the whole (which in this context would mean a more sociologically solid data based approach to social justice) – you just promise things to certain groups.
The BJP, Congress, and Communists want to play this game. They want to emulate the Laloos, Karunanidhis, Mulayams. I dont blame them for it. After all, which politician doesnt want this kind of captive vote bank.
Unfortunately, they dont realize that this doesnt play well with their national stature. Even if Arjun Singh bends himself out of shape in getting the quota – the Congress will still lose its deposits if it contests alone in TN. A Yadav will still vote for Laloo or Mulayam. Why ? Because the voter knows that these guys are going to work almost exclusively for their group (caste).
I see gloomy times ahead for the two parties. There is almost nothing they can do now. They started the deathmatch between themselves. It is just that both of them are going to be buried.