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People of the Vaish Community Honouring Shri JP Aggarwal…

May 17, 2009
"jai prakash aggarwal ko vaish samaj ke logo ne sammanit kiya"

"Jai Prakash Aggarwal ko vaish samaj ke logo ne sammanit kiya."

The photograph above has been sent to me, in my capacity as a journalist, by the PR company hired by Jai Prakash Aggarwal. He was the Congress candidate from the North East Delhi seat, a replacement for Jagdish Tytler. Aggarwal is also the president of the Delhi unit of the Indian National Congress party, that has returned to power with a less encumbering coalition than the one it ran for five years. JP Aggarwal was a reluctant replacement: he was also a Rajya Sabha MP and feared he might lose to the BJP, which would be a great embarrassment for him as the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee. But the Congress insisted they wanted a ‘baniya’ for the seat. Happily for him, he has won, and this press release is about how the Vaish community has honoured him.

Another Congress candidate, Krishna Tirath, has to to best of my knowledge, not been similarly honoured by the ‘Vaish samaj’. I wonder why. My feeble mind wonders if this could have something to do with her not belonging to the ‘Vaish samaj’, unlike JP Aggarwal? I wonder. I also wonder if this could have something to do with her belonging to the ‘Jatav samaj’. You see, hers was a reserved constituency.

I wonder if I am the only one who sees caste here in this electoral politics of the Congress? For, everyone seems to complain about the Evil of caste politics, and everyone seems to be happy that Mulayam, Mayawati, Lalu all have been made insignificant for the moment by yesterday’s results.

Why is it that the Congress’ caste politics is not seen as evil, but when caste politics is practised by parties led by OBCs or Dalits, it is evil? Could it be because the Congress version of caste politics typically treats Dalit and Muslim and OBC vote-banks as fodder, and places at the centre the Vaishs and Kshatriyas and Brahmins?

Could it be that the Vaish samaj mobilising votes in favour of a JP Aggarwal is not seen as caste politics by the middle class because the middle class is full of the Vaish and other upper caste communities?

Am I the only one who thinks that part of the Rahul Gandhi apeal is that ‘Gandhi’ is Brahmin for the masses, and that Brahmins in UP are excited that after the BSP teh Congress front is re-opening for them to latch on to? Is it just a co-incidence that the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee head, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, is also a Brahmin?

Am I the only one who sees it this way, and is appalled? Am I the only one who thinks that such democracy is thus very much feudal, that this democracy is not socially democratic? Am I the only one or do good liberals also see it this way? Or do the good liberals vote Congress to defeat the Muslim-killing BJP, getting trapped in the communal-secular binary forever?

Tera khoon khoon, mera khoon pani?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. ravi permalink
    May 18, 2009 12:33 PM

    Dont be so worried :). I think at least in the four southern states it is the OBCs who are the most favoured group by congress when it comes to seat allottment with ‘due’ representations to minorities. In Karnataka congress did not field even a single brahmin this time whereas the lingayats,vokkaligas and muslims were given ‘due’ representation.

  2. May 18, 2009 1:01 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks that such democracy is thus very much feudal, that this democracy is not socially democratic?

    No, you are not.

  3. caste permalink
    May 18, 2009 1:59 PM

    Dear Shivam,
    I am afraid the large number of dalits who voted for Congress in UP have a different view from yours. There are consitutencies where cong has defeated the BSP with over 1.5 lakhs votes. It seems the “Poor”, “backward” and Muslims who engage with governance and administration on a daily basis have a more complex but a real understanding of politics than people like us who like to speak on their behalf. Anti-cong’ism to flaunt our radical pretentions does not help. Waise “dil ko khush rakne ko….ye khayaal bura nahin……

  4. May 19, 2009 7:04 PM

    Dear “caste”,

    There is no evidence that a “large” number of dalits voted for Congress.

    Thanks but no thanks.

  5. gaddeswarup permalink
    May 25, 2009 12:10 PM

    Ashish Nandy in

    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main41.asp?filename=Ne300509the_hour.asp

    says:
    “In India, except in very small, modern, urban pockets, the unit of mobility is not the individual; the unit of mobility is caste. The lowest common denominator for any party decision on their choice of candidates is caste — all other considerations of aptitude and intention come after that. In fact, we cannot reach a post- Mandal era of politics yet because entering politics from the periphery is still a very crucial instrument in Indian politics.”

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