Mera Wala Dalit
It’s a public knowledge now that Ram Nath Kovind is a NDA candidate and Meira Kumar is a UPA candidate for the 14th President’s Elections in July 2017. Much hyped similarity between them is their caste. They both “happened” to be Dalits. I hyphenate the word happened because it’s anything but a coincidence. For both political parties (BJP and the Congress alike) it’s an expression of their admiration for and recognition of Dalits but for a non political commoner like me it’s a stark reminder that looking down upon Dalits and using them for political gains is still so prevalent in modern India.
Much in to symbolism and with elections always in mind, BJP reached out to its dusty old closet and picked up one Dalit from oblivion, dusted it and presented it as their Presidential candidate. Most of the Citizens, including a lot of political leaders didn’t even know about his existence or heard that name until he was declared a candidate by BJP.
Congress, not wanting to miss the Dalit-Love Express was quick to declare Meira Kumar, Former Speaker of Lok Sabha as their horse in the game.
I mean what is better than a Dalit candidate? A female Dalit candidate stupid!
A quick look at social media will tell you how people are disgusted with the candidates and belittling their caste identity. Two Dalit candidates coming out of Quota of Political Reservation of our system, how can it be possible? Don’t we already despise the Sarkari reservation SC/ST get in government jobs? People of SC/ST castes have inadvertently found themselves in crossfire between the political fight of two big parties. It’s a friendly fire from both the ends and there is nothing they can do about it.
This election is touted as Dalit vs. Dalit on social media but in fact this is Political Chess game between two major parties where Dalits are mere pawns. One party makes move to capture vote bank of quarter of Indians then another party makes another move to counter it. Meira Kumar would never have been UPA’s candidate if it wasn’t for Kovind, I can safely bet my house on it. Caste politics has been a factor for long in state elections in India, never before this was contested so fiercely in presidential contests. Though both parties have played their minority cards in earlier presidential elections but it’s the first time for caste to take the center stage.
India has 29 states, 29 Chief Ministers but only one President which is basically a ceremonial position. It’s funny that despite both parties showing so much love for Dalits in President’s election not a single state has a Dalit Chief Minister. Not a single party has appointed a Dalit CM; all the favor is given to Big Political families or ahem ahem……Yogis. Dalits in major posts are mostly appointed on ceremonial posts like Governorship, not elected on merit. If this is not appeasement of Dalits then I don’t know what is.
Technically the post of President is apolitical and so are its elections, but this election has exposed India’s dark underbelly of Vote bank politics which will go to any extent to gain political mileage over each other.
With over 65% support for Ram Nath Kovind, who will win the elections is almost a foregone conclusion but whoever wins one thing will be clear that despite being 25% of Indian population, Dalits are still puppets in the hands of big parties and this situation doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
I agree with Meira Kumar though that is not Dalit versus Dalit election but to me it’s evident that its Mera wala Dalit versus Tera wala Dalit selection.
End Note: Dalit has become a buzzword in these elections where political parties and media alike are giving a hourly heavy dose of it, irony is that no one realizes that the word Dalit is unconstitutional and cannot be used the way it is being thrown around.
Article Date: 28th June 2017