Will Dalit votes play kingmaker in Guj, UP, Punjab polls in 2017?
Which way will the Dalit vote go, in the three crucial states — Gujarat, UP and Punjab — headed to the polls in 2017, particularly in the wake of violence against scheduled castes by cow vigilantes?
In Gujarat, more than a month after the flogging of four Dalits in Una for skinning a dead cow, it seems like the BJP may lose Dalit voteshare, say political analysts.
It is possible that the divisions between Dalit sub-castes will dissolve, Read more on the evolving political landscape ahead of the polls on P13
adds Gagan Sethi, co-author of Lest We Forget, on the 2002 communal violence in the state. “Candidate selection by parties will be crucial.”
In UP, Dalits who have been hardcore supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party describe themselves as perplexed. “If the BSP candidate is not in a position to defeat the SP nominee, we will not hesitate in supporting the BJP,” say voters like Ramjivan Gautam, 55, of Lakhimpur Kheri.
Gautam’s comments reflect the efforts the BJP has been making to woo Dalits in UP, but after the cow vigilantism in this state, the BJP is fighting a perception battle here too.