Nagpur: When it comes to Indian polity, caste-based equations are so deeply rooted into the regional diaspora that poll analysts often take caste based vote bank into account while stating out their view points.
Then comes the real issues like declining businesses, farm crisis, law and order, unemployment, income or occupation among various other local issues. However quite a role reversal of issues was seen in the recently announced election results in Ramtek Assembly Constituency in Vidarbha. Electorates from Ramtek Constituency clearly rose over caste politics to raise their voice loud and clear as they voted to ensure victory of independent candidate Advocate Ashish Jaiswal, for the fourth time. By choosing Jaiswal, people had not only defeated BJP’s Mallikarjun Reddy and Congress’s Udaysingh Yadav but put an end to the politics which often rests on the issue of Hindutva mixed with Nationalism, say the locals.
BJP had repeated Reddy as its candidate for the second time in 2019. This has irked Jaiswal, former MLA and Shiv Sena leader, who represented this constituency thrice in 1999, 2004 and 2009. In 2014, when BJP and Shiv Sena decided to contest Assembly elections separately, both fielded their candidates from Ramtek. At that time BJP’s Reddy defeated Shiv Sena’s Jaiswal by a margin of over 12,000 votes.
This year, BJP and Shiv Sena contested in alliance and Shiv Sena has left the constituency for BJP. Peeved Jaiswal contested as an Independent candidate and emerged on top by the blessing of people and more importantly the work he brought to the table in the past.
The caste politics in India has resulted in creating monopoly in politics; name it Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) or Congress. Under such scenario, the issues which need to address are often left from consideration when it comes to campaigning. In the assembly elections, while Congress was promising the so called change, the BJP on the other hand pegged the national trick of ‘Hindutva marinated with Nationalism’ in the form of Modi government’s decision to nullify Article 370 and its plan to implement an Assam NRC-like exercise in all states.
The take away:
An MLA is expected to address prominent livelihood concerns of her constituency. Hence, a voter’s connection with her MLA is much stronger than their Lok Sabha representative. MLA addresses the basic problems faced by people like declining businesses, inadequate returns in agriculture, unemployment, water crises in the region and such life issues dominate people’s minds in state elections. In the process, while candidates from BJP and Congress neglected livelihood concerns of people, people picked their MLA in the form of Jaiswal, an independent candidate on his previous work. This thing may seem smaller in the equation; however, is the major need of the time. While issues like unemployment, water crises, farmer suicides and low wages remained firm, the major players in the democracy focusing on issues for their vote banks have to stop.
– Shubham Nagdeve