It is unfortunate that caste still plays a decisive role in determining voter behaviour (“The caste bogey in election analysis,” March 21). Even in States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it is also a determining factor in framing the manifestos and election agendas of parties. This is a reason why despite being resource-rich, States like U.P. and Bihar have not been able to ensure that all sections of the population lead a dignified life. The time has come for voters to demand representatives who have a vision.

Udit Prakash Shukla, Lucknow

The writer’s generalisations do not apply to certain regions, particularly in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. According to scholars who have worked in these areas, of the two dominant caste groups the Vanniyars form between 19 and 37 per cent of the total population and between 23 and 50 per cent of the non-SC population. The SC population is between 15.07 per cent and 26.1 per cent in the four districts of Chengalpattu, North Arcot, South Arcot and Salem. The mainstream parties have been keen to strike electoral alliances with parties that represent these castes because of their numerical preponderance. Such parties often rely on money power to win votes from among those who can be swayed in the two dominant caste groups.

K.A. Manikumar, Tirunelveli

Though politicians today appear to be making an attempt to focus more on development, it is a fact that somewhere down the line, caste and community do matter. It is quite pronounced among parties that have minority communities as their voter bases.

Sereddy Hemanth Kumar, Hyderabad

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