[Answered] “Appeasement of castes whether upper or lower by politicians for vote bank politics has led to strengthening of caste system in India.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. How vote bank politics is associated with strengthening of caste system?
Conclusion. Way forward.

The caste system, though considered to be a disgrace and taboo but is still pervasive and even celebrated by some sections in our complex and hierarchical society. Special provisions are included in the constitution for the betterment of lower-caste people, especially in the field of education and the government sector. Even though the scenario today isn’t that rigid and regressive, especially in the urban areas, the menace of the caste system is yet to be completely eradicated due to various factors, one being is the political aspirations.

Vote bank politics and strengthening of caste system:

  1. Mostly, political leaders are not at all interested in eradicating this system. Instead, they often instigate one section of people against another for their petty electoral gains.
  2. The reservation system too has not been implemented thoroughly yet. Rather more soaps are given in the name of reservation to garner votes instead of helping the poor and needy which have diluted the real aim of reservation.
  3. So, what was originally meant to be a temporary affirmative action-plan (to improve the lot of the unprivileged groups) is now being misused as a vote-grabbing exercise by many political leaders.
  4. Usually caste is proving a heavy weight on the political system and people under the influence of caste do not even vote for the most suitable person not belonging to their caste. Not only this, but candidates for contesting elections are picked up taking caste structure of constituency into consideration.
  5. Some constituencies and areas have always returned people belonging to the same caste. There is today no state which is free from the influence of caste, though in some cases its hold may be more, while in others comparatively less.
  6. There are many instances both at local and national, where caste has influenced the course of elections and also in the selection of candidates. E.g. In Rajasthan Swatantra Party largely represented the wealthier classes, landlords and others and was dominated by the Rajputs.
  7. Even on the village level, in Panchayat Raj elections, the caste system has prevailed. In Jodhpur Division during elections parties usually run for caste based issues like reservation to Jats etc. Similarly one finds that in Orissa Bhumihars, Kayastha and Rajputs pull in different directions at the time of elections and wish to see the candidates belonging to their castes in office.
  8. Then another reason is the desire of the castes, particularly the low castes, not to give up their privileges. Since the British days, the low castes have been given certain privileges. These have considerably increased now. Since this caste was likely to lose its privileges by being categorised as forward class, therefore, it put political pressure and arranged to be classified as a backward caste.

Caste is not influencing politics in India but has impact, rather more forcefully and effectively. In free India it was hoped that caste would gradually cease to exert its influence. But it appears that things have not come up to our expectations and the caste still continues to influence politics. In free India where state was interested in having a casteless society but it is amazing that caste is more and more influencing both politics and elections.

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