India – ‘lowest of low’ win right to govern
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India – ‘lowest of low’ win right to govern

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John Ahni Schertow
May 16, 2007
 

From angryindian.blogspot.com – The Indian caste system was handed a shock as Indigenous political power became a reality yesterday. The new balance of power for representation of India’s Aboriginal and Untouchable classes has the promise of improved living conditions for some of India’s poorest people.

While this is a historic and positive development, even with this change in dynamics the economic divide will still need to be addressed or this newly gained political power will only only go so far. – The Angryindian (source)

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A PARTY of “untouchables” took power in India’s most populous state yesterday, the first time a political group championing Hinduism’s lowest caste has headed a majority government in the country.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won 206 seats in the 403-seat assembly in Uttar Pradesh, a northern state home to 170 million people – more than the populations of Russia and Australia combined.

The BSP, which has fought for the rights of India’s Dalits – formerly untouchables in Hinduism’s stratified caste system – surpassed opinion poll forecasts.

Uttar Pradesh, known to be a cauldron of caste and religious politics, saw a surprising voter alliance between Dalits and high-caste Brahmins, which led the BSP to its biggest-ever win.

The BSP chief, Mayawati, is a fiery Dalit teacher-turned-politician. She was sworn in as chief minister yesterday in Lucknow, the state capital, along with 48 ministers, including several upper-caste MPs.

Analysts say BSP – which built its formidable base using harsh anti-upper caste rhetoric – softened its tone for the latest state election.

It fielded many Brahmin as well as Muslim candidates and forged a wider “rainbow” coalition, reaping a rich electoral harvest by more than doubling the number of its state MPs. (read the full article)

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