For centuries, SC/STs, were made as untouchables” of Jambudvipa, that is, the Great Prabuddha Bharath, have lived as
outcasts, barred from owning land, thwarted from marrying into a higher
caste and forced into dirty jobs such as cleaning toilets – this
despite the government’s abolishment of the caste system.
53-year-old former schoolteacher-turned-politician known across India
as the “Scheduled Caste Queen” is running for prime minister – and political
experts believe Kumari Mayawati has an outside chance to lead the
world’s largest democracy after an election next month.
A victory by a so-called untouchable in a national election here would have been considered unthinkable only a decade ago.
as the SC/STS began to receive more education and gain political
control in states such as Uttar Pradesh as small regional parties have
surged in popularity, the older, venerable national political groups
such as the Gandhi-family-led Congress party have seen their own
That has made it possible for Mayawati to emerge
as a legitimate candidate for prime minister.
The Hindustan Times
newspaper this week ran a full-page story headlined “Who’s afraid of
Mayawati?” and a columnist mused she “plays by her own rules … shuns
the cosy, members-only power elite that New Delhi is familiar with.”
for her plain speaking style and omnipresent handbag, Mayawati, who is
the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has made caste part of the
political conversation. “Struggle is the way of my life,” she said at a
rally in August, referring to her upbringing as a SC. “Who can stop
me from reaching the top post?”
Despite efforts made by the
Indian government to eradicate the caste system, it remains a
deep-rooted part of Indian society and can still dictate someone’s
future prospects, particularly in rural areas. Even today, matrimonial
ads in newspapers are divided by caste.
In many Indian
communities, occupations such as doctors and lawyers have been reserved
for Brahmins, the top caste in a country of 6,000 castes and sub-castes.
like Mayawati, who was born a SC, is typically still excluded from
mainstream life and that’s what makes her political climb remarkable.
It helped that she comes from Uttar Pradesh.
home state, Prabuddha Bharath’s largest, is mostly agricultural and boasts both a
large SC/ST population and a large Muslim minority, both influential
vote banks. With a population of 190 million, Uttar Pradesh has 80
seats in India’s 543-member Parliament, the most of any of India’s 28
states. Control Uttar Pradesh and you’re on your way to becoming one of most powerful politicians.
In the last federal election
in 2004, Mayawati’s BSP party took 19 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Analysts
say if Mayawati can secure 80 out of the state’s 80 seats, she may argue
she has enough support to lead a minority government.
village has progressed,” said Vajindra Mishra, a 40-year-old Brahmin
priest who lives in the village of Bhainsrasi in west Uttar Pradesh.
“We now see TV, can iron clothes, use a mobile phone charger, a wheat
grinder, 100-watt bulbs in the street and, if there’s a wedding, we
Politics is about empowerment and
identity, governance, said Ajoy Bose, author of a political biography
of Mayawati. “Many people feel she is of the people. That’s what
Rudrapur (PTI): Mayawati on Thursday
accused the successive governments at the Centre of failing to bring
any change in the conditions of the SCs, tribals and Muslims and
asked people to vote for the BSP so that it can come to power on its
Kicking off the BSP’s election campaign
from this industrial town of Kumaon region in Uttarakhand where Lok
Sabha polls are slated for May 13 in the last phase, the Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister said people should give a clear mandate to the BSP if
they wanted social justice for all.
Charging both the BJP and Congress with
misleading people against her party she warned them not to let
themselves be taken in by the false propaganda.
She also said if BSP is voted to power, it would enact a stringent law to control terrorism and naxalism.
Claiming to have done a lot for the
development of Uttarakhand when it was part of undivided Uttar Pradesh,
she exuded confidence that her party will win all the five seats in the
Mayawati holds Cong, BJP responsible for poverty in country
Sambalpur (PTI): BSP supremo Mayawati
on Tuesday attacked both the BJP and the Congress, holding them
responsible for poverty in the country, and vowed to ensure speedy
development of all sections of people and wipe out naxal menace, if
voted to power.
“Poor remained poor, SC/STs remained
neglected and backward for years. What these parties (Congress and BJP)
have done for them?” she wondered, while launching her party’s poll
campaign in this western Orissa city.
Asking people to bring about a change
by voting for BSP, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said elections were
held one after another but without no positive outcome as parties like
Congress and BJP “collected huge money” from rich people, businessmen
Therefore, while in power they served
the interests of the rich ignoring the requirements of the poor, Ms.
Mayawati alleged. “If you want to improve social status and remove
poverty and backwardness, you have to keep Congress and BJP away from
power,” the BSP leader said.
She also promised that her party would
take concrete steps to eliminate naxalite problem if voted to power.
Stating that BSP is not a party of any particular religion or caste,
Ms. Mayawati said all sections of people were given ticket by BSP for
elections in Orissa.
New Delhi, With the election fever gripping the country, as many as
142 candidates filed their nominations on the fourth day today for the
April 16 phase one Lok Sabha polls.
The nominations for the first phase would continue till March 30, while scrutiny would be taken up on the next day.
Nominations could be withdrawn till April 2.
In Uttar Pradesh, a total of 44 candidates filed their nominations, reports from Lucknow said.
Altogether 87 candidates have so far filed their nominations for the
first phase elections, when 16 Lok Sabha constituencies would go to
polls in eastern parts of the state.
According to Additional Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha, the
maximum number of six candidates filed their nominations for the
Mirzapur seat, followed by five each for Kushinagar and Ghosi, four for
Azamgarh, three each for Gorakhpur, Basgaon, Varanasi and Robertsganj,
two each for Maharajganj, Deoria, Lalganj and Salempur, one each for
Ballia, Machhlishahr, Ghazipur and Chandauli Lok Sabha seats.
Prominent candidates who filed their nominations included Swami
Prasad Maurya from Kushinagar (BSP), Mukhtar Ansari from Varanasi (BSP) and Bal Kumar Patel from
There would be no nominations in UP tomorrow, following government holiday on the occasion of Chaiti Chand.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate filed
nomination papers for the Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary constituency,
reports Jammu said.
”Four candidates, one of BSP, one of All India Forward Block and two
Independents, filed their papers here yesterday to the Returning
Officer amid the presence of hundreds of supporters,” official sources
BSP candidate Choudhary Hussain Ali Waffa accompanied by national
general secretary Narinder Kashyap and state president filed his
”All India Forward Block (AIFB) candidate Qari Zahir Abbas Bhatti
and Shakeela Bano and Param Ram Poonchi also filed nominations as
-independent candidates,” sources added.
In Maharashtra, a total of 28 candidates filed their papers from the
13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Vidharba and Marathwada regions, reports
from Nagpur said.
While 23 candidates filed their papers from nine of the total ten
constituencies of Vidharba region, five nominees from three seats of
Marathwada region, sources said.
The constituency in Vidharba from where no papers were filed was
Wardha. With this, the total number of candidates from the region who
have submitted their forms, have gone up to 50.
As many as five candidates filed their papers on Monday, the first day, 13 on Tuesday, and nine yesterday.
From the Marathwada region, all the candidates who have filed their
papers are independents and till now, no nominee from any prominent
political party has filed his nomination. Of the five nomination papers
filed from the region, two each are from Nanded and Hingoli, one in
Parbhani, the sources said. With this, the total number of nominations
filed in Marathwada in the last four days has touched 17.
The total number of nomination papers from Vidharba and Marathwada regions filed till now are 67.
The nominations from Vidharba included four each from Amravati,
Ramtek and Yavatmal-Washim constituencies, three from Chandrapur, two
each from Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondia and Gadchiroli-Chimur, and one each
from Buldhana and Akola, sources said.
Among those who filed their papers were Manikrao Vaidya, who has entered the fray as a nominee of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Mr Vaidya was the district (rural) unit chief of the BJP, but quit earlier this month to join the BSP.
Another BSP candidate who submitted his papers was Vasant Dandge of
Buldhana, official sources said.
Meanwhile, no nomination papers will be accepted tomorrow in both
the regions as it is a government holiday on account of Gudi Padwa, the
Maharashtrian New Year. The last date for filing of nominations is
Varun Gandhi arrested after ‘hate speech’A politician from the Nehru-Gandhi political
Varun Gandhi, great-grandson of India’s secular first
premier Jawaharlal Nehru, was taken into custody in Uttar Pradesh state
following accusations he made a speech earlier this month whipping up
religious hatred, a crime here.
arrest in the constituency of Pilibhit where he is making his debut run
He has been at the centre of a political storm since
cameras filmed him allegedly telling a rally the BJP would “cut the
heads of Muslims” and comparing a rival Muslim candidate to Al-Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden.
controversy has fuelled speculation the BJP may seek to stoke religious
tensions in the officially secular country of 1.1 billion to appeal to
the majority Hindu vote in elections to be held between April 16 and
Gandhi will be detained over the weekend with a bail hearing set for Monday.Pilibhit police action: UP govt warns of stern action
Lucknow (PTI): Accusing Varun Gandhi’s
supporters of indulging in unprovoked violence in Pilibhit, the
Mayawati government on Saturday warned of stern action against
“Nobody will be allowed to take law and
order into his hand and stern action would be taken against trouble
makers,” the Uttar Pradesh government said in a statement.
Justifying police action on BJP
workers, it said, “when BJP candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi was
sent to jail, his supporters brick batted at the jail staff and police
without any provocation. The police used force only to control the
The BJP workers reassembled and
indulged in fresh brick-batting after which police “had to use force to
disperse the trouble makers,” it said adding that the situation was now
The government said that FIRs lodged
against Mr. Varun was under investigation and CDs of his speeches were
being examined by a team of expert. Two FIRs were lodged against the
BJP candidate at Barkhera police station for making inflammatory and
provocative speeches during a rallies on March 8.
“The government is committed to ensure
free and fair elections,” the statement said. Mr. Varun Gandhi on
Saturday surrendered before a local court while his supporters fought
pitched battles with police leaving over 20 injured. He was remanded to
judicial custody till Monday.
Police fired rubber bullets and
lathicharged the activists who indulged in heavy stone throwing. “He
has been kept in Pilibhit district jail and the court has directed to
produce him on Monday,” the statement added.
BSP names eight more candidates
BANGALORE: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has released its second
list of eight candidates who will contest the Lok Sabha elections from
The list, released by State BSP president Marasandra Muniyappa here
on Thursday, contains the names of its candidates for Chamarajanagar
and Bidar Lok Sabha constituencies, which are considered to be the
While BSP State general secretary N. Mahesh has been chosen for the
Chamarajanagar seat, Jagannath Jamadar will contest from Bidar.
The party candidate for the Mysore Lok Sabha seat is Syed Nizam Ali,
and Krishnamurthy will contest from Mandya. The other candidates are T.
Nagendra (Bellary), Shivaputrappa Gumageri (Koppal), Sudhakar Kanamadi
(Bijapur) and Dilleppa Kariappa Igala (Haveri).
The party had already announced candidates for 15 Lok Sabha constituencies.
They are Kannada film star Ashok from Tumkur, A.P. Ahmed from
Hassan, Mohd. Hafizulla Sharief from Bangalore Rural, R.S. Patil from
Belgaum, N. Muniswamy from Kolar, Laxminarayan from Chickaballapur,
Vijaya Bhaskar from Bangalore Central, Naheeda Salma from Bangalore
South, Basavanthappa Gonnemmanavar from Haveri, Shivakumar Naik Korvi
from Raichur, M. Jayanna from Chitradurga, J. Jayappa from Shimoga,
Mahadev B. Dhani from Gulbarga, Girish Rai from Dakshina Kannada and
Steven J. Menezes from Udupi-Chikmagalur.