UP Elections: It isn’t development versus caste, but development through caste.

An interesting story on UP elections via journey of two houses.

Both the mud houses got developed due to Lohia Housing Scheme started by the current SP Government:

A recent survey by Lokniti, Centre for Study of Developing Societies, asked voters a question: “If Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh take place tomorrow then what will be the most important issue for you while casting your vote?”

Twenty one percent of the surveyed voters identified development as the main issue, 15% settled on unemployment, 11% said price rise, 7% fell on corruption. As this Mint article reported, caste did not feature anywhere in the issues that mattered.

But this hardly means that caste is not a factor in the elections – as the article pointed out, the same survey showed people were voting along caste lines. Yadavs were voting predominantly for the Samajwadi Party, and Dalits for the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Baksha’s Lohia homes offer a clue for this voting pattern.

The residents of the village want development but know that development itself is delivered through caste allegiances. The government might design schemes that appear to be based on objective criteria. But in their implementation, there is ample room for discretion.

If a Yadav pradhan loyal to the Samajwadi Party favours Yadavs over others, naturally Yadavs return the favour, voting for the party.

Though, all this is well known. But always nice to figure via stories.


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