Yogendra Yadav mixes it up
This article is about the “6 myths about Indian elections” by Mr Yogendra Yadav. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7973477.stm
Here is a quick list for those who are too lazy to read the whole thing.
- Women vote as per husbands wishes
- Muslims vote heavily and as a bloc
- The young vote distinctly and independently
- High turnout means defeat for the ruling party
- There is widespread apathy towards politics
- Indians dont caste their vote they vote their caste
Actually, I dont think people really consider items 1-5 as true any more. So, shattering myths 1-5 is like shattering the myth that the sun revolves around the earth. Passe.
Let us consider the all important point number 6 (of caste). Item 2 (muslims) is a special case of 6.
Yogendra Yadav says :
But the fact remains that most voters in most constituencies in India do not have a simple option of voting along caste lines.
Either they have more than one candidate from their own caste or they have none.
They simply cannot vote according to their caste. There has to be a consideration other than caste for almost three-quarters of the voters.
Source : BBC (emphasis added)
Lets break it down, because his claim that 75% of Indians are not, or rather cannot, be impacted by the caste factor is astonishing.
What he is really saying is that the caste factor can be neutralized in two ways :
- if two candidates from the same caste are in the running in a given constituency
- if no candidate from a particular caste is in the running then the caste factor is neutralized ( at least for the population of that caste )
On Reality Check there have been plenty of posts on this subject. People do not vote for candidates of their caste, they vote for benefits attached to being members of that caste. Since the benefits are not subject to examination, they are under the sole custody of a particular formation.
So lets test Mr Yadavs hypothesis :
Can the Congress undermine the SP by simply fielding Yadav candidates in all constituencies where the SP has also fielded Yadav candidates ? The presence of two Yadav candidates would instantly neutralize the Yadav voters affinity and make them vote for a larger issue (such as a sewage system or drinking water).
Repeat the same : Is it so easy to neutralize the PMK simply by fielding Vanniyar candidates ? RJD, NCP, BJP in KA.
The Muslims present a unique picture, which deserves a separate post. On the surface, Muslims as a group could be considered as just another caste like Yadavs, Kurmis, Thevars, Lingayaths.
On deeper examination, you find stark differences.
- unlike the others, they have to TRANSFER their vote to a non muslim formation (quick tell me a muslim congress leader or a muslim DMK leader)
- unlike the others, the muslims (at least in the north) do not have concrete quota benefits to be protected from examination
- the oft quoted muslim benefits like the Haj subsidy and the Wakf board benefits are not significant
- the muslims in large parts of India vote on fear rather than benefit protection (M J Akbar has pointed this out in many of his articles)
We have no choice but to turn to western intellectuals for a no holds barred analysis of Indian society and politics. Check out the free chapter from Lauda Dudley Jenkins book ‘Identity and Identification in India’. Can we never have an Indian scholar produce a work like this ?
Here is an short interview of Lloyd and Suzanne Rudolph (who have been studying India for over 50 years),
You have been observing Indian elections since the 1950s. What have been some of the major changes in the election process over the years?
We have noticed four changes. First, a decline in the politics of charisma and darshan and a rise in the politics of vote banks and benefits. Second, the emergence of two Indias, the one-third of the voting public that views television and whose vote is shaped by personalities and persuasion, and the two-thirds of the voting public whose vote is shaped by identity politics.Third, an effort to break the hold of vote bank and regional determination of voter choice by appealing to an aam aadmi, a hypothetical all-India, average or median voter. Fourth, the appearance of an incipient women’s vote based on a growing consciousness that there are women’s values and interests independent of family and community.Source : TOI