The great Indian caste system marginalises not only the human beings, but also the institutions created by them. This marginalses creeps creepily into media as well. The media marginalises with three simple tactics: a complete silence over their existence, negative publicity drive, and co-opting their leaders and agenda.Most of the times, these three tactics are mixed in different proportions The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is therefore always marginalised. This marginalisation is not new for the BSP, which was the third largest national party till last general elections. The BSP with its core agenda can evolve as the largest national party. Its potential is threat to the established web of crony capitalists, RSS-minded Brahmins, and petty politicians. This is the reason the core agenda of the BSP is never discussed in any national debate. The core agenda of the BSP is establishment of true democracy in India. Now, let us be clear that the word “democracy” is one of the words that has no fixed meaning and hence one way of approaching it would be describing what it is not. It is not caste-based social order. It is not the hegemony a few Bania-capitalists. It is not the subjugation of women. It is not Gunda-raj of the powerful landholders. It is not usurping the money of the people without their consent. It is not the dictatorship of one man lionised by media. It is not trolling of liberals and open minded people. The author of India democracy, Babasaheb Ambedkar, described democracy in many ways and in his scheme of democracy, it is the reclamation of human personality. It is an attitude of respect and reverence for the fellow human beings. It is the Government by discussion and persuasion.
The BSP was founded on the bedrock of BAMCEF which envisioned a rainbow alliance of Backward Castes (The Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Castes) and Converted minorities (the converted Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims). They account for India’s 85 to 93 percent of population. The census does not give complete picture of the composition and NSSO data differs from the census data. Let us settle for the conservative figure of 85 percent. It is also true that the rainbow alliance is not only the end but the means to make India a true democracy. The alliance is the path and the destination. This is BSP’s core ideology. Of course, this rainbow alliance does not exist in reality due to regional variations, language, political affiliations, and most importantly, the caste fissures within them. But the overriding arc of ideology, the dream, and the possibility of it is beginning of true democracy and end of Brahminism, which is ugly dictatorship of a few.
Coming back to the current scenario, the national media has already written off BSP as the main contender of power in the mother of all elections, that is, UP elections. The ruling party is out to gag the BSP. If the outcome of the so called notebandi is evaluated, it appears that it was primarily aimed as destroying the BSP of its resources. The BSP is the only party which is not funded by businesses in India. The core agenda and ideology of the BSP is dangerous. It does not matter if the BSP wins the elections, although it has become a dire necessity to save democracy from the RSS backed BJP, whose only agenda is to impose Brahminical nationalism onto India’s majority of the people. It is done subtly by religious symbolism and exploiting the graded hatred inbuilt in India’s social order. But judging by the contemporary events; the rise of independent voice among India’s Muslims, the million marches of the dominant OBC castes throughout India (Patels/Patidars in Gujarat, Kammas in Andhra, Marathas in Maharashtra to cite some of them), the national consolidation of the Dalit movements, intellectual and ideological challenge put forward by the Ambedkarites, the rise and rise of status of Babasaheb Ambedkar itself, and social media usage by socially committed citizens; it is important for ruling classes (Brahmins and Banias) to override the core ideology of the BSP, destroy its core agenda by rhetoric of development, and weaken its organisation by co-option. However, the wheel is set in motion and the BSP has evolved into a catch-all party (to borrow a phrase from Christophe Jaffrelot) from the Dalit Party. The media paints it as a Dalit party, as if Dalits can not lead the rainbow alliance.
The media never painted the BJP as the Brahmin-Bania Party and congress as the declining Brahmin-Bania party. The BSP is far from the Dalit party now. The composition of the tickets distributed by the BSP in the UP elections bears this ideology. The media writes it off saying it is the caste politics, but it is truly democratic politics. The BSP gave equal representation to the OBCs, the Muslims, the SCs, and played her democratic cards boldly. By declaring her candidates much before any other political parties, the BSP, in fact, set the rules of the game in the UP elections. The diversity forced by the BSP in UP has a potential to ensure diversity in the other political parties. If anyone has understood the game of democracy in India and how to realise it, they are undoubtedly the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar. A triply discriminated (caste, gender, and class) Indian citizen, Behen Mayavati, is rewriting the rules of the game is the silver lining in India’s dark political cloud. The electoral victory is secondary, the primary thing is to usher the era of diverse representation and shared power by all: this is the only way to destroy minorities control over majority and establish true democracy.