The high point of Laloo Yadav’s political career was stopping the Ram rath yatra of L.K. Advani in 1990 and having the BJP leader arrested. The most decisive act of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s career was ordering the firing on karsevaks headed to the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya the same year. Almost a quarter century later, it is still the two Yadavs of the heartland who are emerging as the main force against the BJP in their respective heartland states.
When this election began, it was presumed that in the two core states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it would be Mayawati and Nitish Kumar who would give the fight-back to the BJP. The Yadavs were seen as largely discredited figures. But lo and behold, what’s emerging is very different from what the pundits predicted. It is to some extent a replay of the politics of the ’90s, an era referred to as Mandal vs Mandir. The issue now is not Ram mandir but Narendra Modi, but it is the two Yadavs who are leading the charge.
Laloo is now a convicted man and cannot stand for elections himself, so wife Rabri Devi and daughter Misa are doing so. But the RJD chief is campaigning relentlessly and with his Yadav vote all charged up, in many seats Muslims see him as a better option to defeat the BJP than the JD(U). The result: Nitish is falling off the grid in some seats. But a consolation for the Bihar CM could be that many minority voters say that in an assembly poll they may still choose Nitish...but for the Lok Sabha Laloo is a better bet. Still, it’s bad news for the JD(U) which is unlikely to survive a regime change in Delhi since their state government in Bihar now survives at the mercy of independents.
Meanwhile, it’s a more serious Laloo at work but the jokes are still there. To some extent, what is happening in 2014 can be seen as a replay of the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when Laloo campaigned fiercely and distributed pictures of the Gujarat riots across the state. He won 21 Lok Sabha seats although some months later he would lose the state elections to Nitish Kumar. What this means is that the Gujarat riots and Modi can certainly be a mobilising factor in Bihar.
Similarly, in UP, with the Yadavs concentrated in some seats, the SP campaign is again picking up in central UP and Poorvanchal region after two rounds in western UP where the BJP did rather well. Now the reports from the ground suggest a somewhat changing equation in spite of what is seen as the misgovernance of the SP regime. Mulayam’s decision to also contest from Azamgarh in the Poorvanchal region besides his traditional seat Mainpuri seems to have helped galvanise his voters in the region. In Awadh too, in critical seats like Faizabad (that includes Ayodhya), it is the SP candidate who is now seen as the frontrunner.
Like Nitish, Mayawati provided better governance and she is very much in the fight. But the Yadav-Muslim combination, an arithmetical calculus of the Mandal era, is again being talked about in parts of UP and all of Bihar. Both Nitish and Mayawati have at some stage been partners with the BJP and that too could be a factor for minorities preferring the Yadavs in many seats.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
>> I remember some years ago, there was a Hindu-Muslim riots when Lalu was CM. The racial riots were between Yadavs and Muslims. And Lalu backed Yadavs to te hilt.
Wrong information. There was "no" communal riot in Bihar when Laloo was CM. Probably you are refering to Bhagalpur riot - it happened during Congress regime. Yes it was between Yadavs and Muslims. It is the credit to Laloo's leadership that Yadavs/OBCs and Muslims have been living peacefully side-by-side since then.
I remember some years ago, there was a Hindu-Muslim riots when Lalu was CM. Sorry correction. The racial riots were between Yadavs and Muslims. And Lalu backed Yadavs to te hilt.
>> In this scenario the possibility of third front government headed by Mulayam and backed by Congress is real.
We'll know when the results come out. However, I think the third front leader with the best chance is probably Mamta.
It is becoming increasingly clear that opinion polls projecting grand victory of BJP is manipulation. Congress remains in gutter. In this scenario the possibility of third front government headed by Mulayam and backed by Congress is real.
Incidentally, Outlook, these are the same two leaders, fighting against the imminent Ban on Males fighting elections ( the much despised Women Reservation Bill ).
Why does the media not acknowledge, and give credit to, fighters for the rights of males?
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