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Political Line | Challenges for Samajwadi Party in U.P.; rights and duties

SP’s woes: BJP woos Jats; Mayawati woos Muslims

A Jat—Muslim compact is supposed to be the axis of the Samajwadi Party’s social engineering efforts in western Uttar Pradesh. The SP is in alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) — the traditional vehicle of Jat politics, but no longer unchallenged.  There is nothing inevitable about the coalition of the two communities; and there are enough tensions between them that could splinter their tenuous pact. The BJP is relentlessly wooing the Jats, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is trying to woo the Muslims. The BJP and the BSP are both counting SP as the key enemy, and the BJP is even considering the RLD as a future partner in the event of a hung Assembly.

BSP supremo Mayawati. File

BSP supremo Mayawati. File

Of the 109 candidates declared by the  BSP for the first two phases of the election  in the region, 40 are Muslim, more than a third. The BSP has for long stuck up for representation proportionate to the numerical strength of individual communities — “Jis ki kitni sankhya bhari, uski utni hissedari.  The BSP’s focus on Muslims comes against the backdrop of an overall muted approach that the SP has taken towards the community. The SP is defensive about its association with Muslims as it tries to focus on aggregating all backward castes. BSP leader Mayawati is trying to twist the knife a bit more for the SP by fielding a good number of Muslim candidates. 

Meanwhile, the BJP has launched an all-out effort to woo the Jats. The BJP has been riding on communal polarisation in western U.P. for the last few years, but Jats — a land owning agricultural community — were angered by the three farm laws that the Centre enacted. The Centre has now repealed the laws, and the BJP is seeking peace with the Jats. Needless to say, the party’s brazen appeal to the Jats is to think of themselves as Hindus, and to think of Muslims as their enemies.  Union Home Minister Amit Shah met with representatives of the community  and campaigned in the region. He appealed to Jat representatives to put pressure on RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary to rethink the alliance with SP. Jats fought the Mughals for centuries, Mr. Shah told them; and reminded them that the BJP chose Shamli as a headquarter for the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), which is often accused of policing hostile to Muslims.

So how good is the Jat-Muslim equation working? My colleague Anuj Kumar has his ear to the ground, and offers some valuable insights in  this  story.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD president Jayant Chaudhary. File

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD president Jayant Chaudhary. File


‘Think as Hindus,’ is what the BJP tells all castes; the SP-led alliance’s focus is the resentment among backward castes. There seems to be a division of labour among the senior leaders of the alliance. Akhilesh Yadav himself is not very strident on caste questions. That role is being performed by Swami Prasad Maurya who left the BJP accusing it of being anti-BC and anti-Dalit. In this interview with Omar Rashid, Mr. Maurya leaves nothing to speculation.

Mr. Maurya’s daughter continues to be a BJP Member of Parliament. Whether he commands the same respect among the people whose cause that he champions as he used to is an open question this season. The brazen promotion of the family has become a curse in Indian politics, and by and large, people are more than willing to accept this practice. Omar Rashid profiles the Mulayam Yadav clan  here .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks that  India “wasted” a lot of time fighting for rights , and not caring about duties.

It is a rather problematic formulation, and  this editorial  explains why. “Any shift in state policy emphasis from rights to duties will be absurd and a disservice to many for whom the realisation of even fundamental rights is still a work in progress. An enlightened citizenry is critical to progress and good governance. But duty is not something that the citizens owe to the state.”

Political philosopher Rajeev Bhargava’s  piece  offers more insights into what it means to be a Republic.


Federalism Tract  

Republic Day celebrations provided an occasion to discuss issues related to federalism at various places and in different contexts.   

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and RJD leader from Bihar Tejaswi Yadav shared an online platform to champion social justice as a critical component of federalism. Mr. Stalin is taking the lead to launch an  All India Federation for Social Justice , roping parties and outfits from different States that are at the forefront of social justice politics.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin administered the pledge against untouchability to Ministers, officers and staff on Saturday

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin administered the pledge against untouchability to Ministers, officers and staff on Saturday

West Bengal  Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee  greeted the people of the country on the 73rd Republic Day and urged them to take a pledge to protect the basic structure of the Constitution, particularly its federal character.

One nation, many models

The BJP’s thrust on ‘one nation, one everything’ often overlooks and even undermines successes achieved by various States, through their unique approaches.  There is a Dravidian model of health sector development , and this is one that you must not miss. Quotas, far from undermining merit, can create such public good, the authors of this piece argue. The new admission policy for medical courses bulldozed by the Centre does not only weaken federalism, but also threatens development. No land's people?

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Arunachal Pradesh government to submit an action taken report against the racial profiling and relocation of  people belonging to the Chakma  and Hajong communities. They are people who had fled their homes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) after losing land to the construction of the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli river in the early 1960s. They had sought asylum in India and were settled in relief camps in Arunachal Pradesh.  They continue to face hostility from the state and nativist groups , though the Supreme Court has declared them as citizens decades ago.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 1:27:18 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/political-line-challenges-for-samajwadi-party-in-up-rights-and-duties/article38343874.ece