IndiaUP Elections: Did Dalits also develop in Uttar Pradesh like Mayawati?

UP Elections: Did Dalits also develop in Uttar Pradesh like Mayawati?

The discussion on where the Dalit vote bank will go in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections is hot. No wave visible. There are many contenders. Some new, some old. The Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has succeeded in bringing a section of the Dalits into its fold. That’s why in 2017, out of 84 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, BJP had hoisted the flag on 70. This time Akhilesh Yadav is giving a direct competition to the BJP. In such a situation, it is difficult to know whether 21 percent Dalit voters will turn their backs on Mayawati, the leader of Bahujan Samaj Party, the oldest entitled Dalit. The figures show that even in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mayawati was successful in getting more than 18 percent votes. But we will discuss whether Mayawati should really get the credit for the socio-economic upliftment of Dalits.

Uttar Pradesh lags behind in the rise of Dalit consciousness. Tamil Nadu was the first of the five largest states in terms of Dalit population to challenge varna and caste supremacy. Social reformers like E Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar) and Narayana Guru in Kerala gave social mobility to Dalits long back. In Uttar Pradesh too, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh continued to make efforts in the framework of Hindutva, but allegations of advancing the Brahminical system continued to be leveled against it. When Kanshi Ram formed the Bahujan Samaj Party in 1984, only Dalits and backward were in its axis. The BSP had routed its way through the Backward and Minorities Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) and DS-4 (Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti). In this sense, Kanshi Ram’s experience proved effective as soon as he landed on the political stage. Within ten years of its formation, the BSP has covered its journey to the top of the power. Mayawati became the first Dalit woman Chief Minister of the country’s largest state. After being short term CM three times, he completed his first full term from 2007 to 12.

The figure behind Bahu-Beti Bachao
If we talk about crime against Dalits and get UP on top, then it is also related to population. About 21 percent of the total Dalit population of India is in UP. Nearly more than four crores. That’s why the best indicator is the rate of crime. That is, what is the crime rate against Dalits per one lakh population. If we take the figures of 2009-10, it was 3.8. In this context, UP came after Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha in terms of crime against Dalits. This was the race when Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj was running a foot term government with the support of Brahmins. When he took over the reins, 6144 cases of crime against Dalits were registered in 2007. When he left in 2012, 6202 cases were registered.

In the rule of Akhilesh Yadav, this figure reached 10426 in 2016. A jump of about 70 percent. Yogi Adityanath took power in early 2017 and 11444 cases were registered that year. In 2020 this figure was 12714. That is, a tremendous decline has been registered in the increase in crime rate as compared to Akhilesh. Therefore, if Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joins the BJP and starts the Bahu-Beti Bachao campaign, then it is a warning to Akhilesh. A clarification is also necessary here. In the book Development Failure And Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh edited by Roger Jeffrey, it has been told that if cases of crime are being registered against Dalits, then it also shows their social mobility. It has two aspects. One – now there is awareness about rights among Dalits and they oppose any oppression. Second – After getting information about the SC-ST Act, Dalits are now approaching the courts to protect their rights. Earlier this did not happen.
How much did the income of dalits increase?
One question is that after the arrival of BSP, are the pockets of the Dalits of UP full? Has his income increased? So a report by the World Bank gives the answer yes. The population of Dalits living below the poverty line in the village declined at the fastest rate between 1987-88 and 1999-2000. In 1987-88, 56 percent of such population was poor, but in 2000 this figure fell to 44. During the same period, the population below the poverty line of other sections declined from 38 to 29 percent. While the number of Dalits living below the poverty line declined by 12 per cent, other classes declined by only 9 per cent.

The World Bank gave another report in 2018 in which the annual income of the family is mentioned on the basis of caste. According to this, the average family income was Rs 1,13000. But the Dalit family was earning only 89000 rupees annually. This figure could not be found only for UP, but the poverty line figures are recorded. According to the 2004-05 report of the Ministry of Social Justice, in UP, 44 percent of Dalits in both urban and rural areas were living below the poverty line. Including all sections, 40 percent of the population in UP was below the poverty line. In this respect, Dalits have lagged behind the overall average in the state. Only in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, Dalits were poorer than here. You will remember that there was a lot of ruckus on this figure because per capita income of Rs 356 in rural areas and Rs 538 in cities was considered above poverty line. According to the Reserve Bank’s report, the number of people living below the poverty line in UP has come down to 29 percent in 2011-12 as against the national average of 22 percent.
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When Mayawati mentioned Kanshi Ram Awas Yojna in her tweet attacking Yogi Adityanath, while looking for some more accurate figures, we found the research paper of Devesh Kapoor, CB Prasad and Shyam Babu – Rethinking Inequality: Dalits in UP in the Market Reform Era found. According to this, there has been a significant improvement in the condition of Dalits between 1990 and 2010. The number of people living in pucca houses increased from 18 to 64 percent. The number of households with television went from almost zero to 45 percent. Apart from this, the researchers have prepared the report on the basis of basic things like cycle, ceiling fan, amount of pulses in the food. For this, a door-to-door survey was conducted in all the Dalit families living in Khurja block of western Uttar Pradesh and Bellaryganj block of eastern UP. It is true that after the formation of the government in 2007, more than 1.5 lakh houses were built under the Kanshi Ram Awas Yojana.
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The effect of digital revolution in Uttar Pradesh is visible in the development of Dalits. Today about 41 percent of Dalit women have a mobile phone. Which is only slightly less than the average of 45% of the women of other categories. The National Family Health Survey found that Dalit women are 49 percent more likely to get the benefit of Janani Suraksha Yojana than the general category. This means that they are getting the benefits of Yogi government’s schemes. Now let’s try to know the condition of women who become mothers.

According to a report published in The Lancent, the child mortality rate of children under five years of age declined from 83 in 2000 to 58 in 2010 and 42 in 2017. The decline in the death rate in the first decade of the new century was 3.4 percent. At the same time, in the first year of the new century in Uttar Pradesh, 112 children were dying for every 1000 and this figure came down to 59 in 2017. But the rate of decline was 3.16 percent. Among the big states, Bihar was the only state where child mortality rate was higher than UP during this period. If you look at the National Family Health Survey, then the figures till 2020 are available. Amartya Sen believes that if the empowerment of Dalits is to be measured, then the figure of child mortality within five years is an accurate measure. If we take the five states with the highest number of Dalits in the total population, the child mortality rate in Uttar Pradesh is still 70. That is, 70 out of 1000 Dalit children die before they reach the age of five. However, if all castes and classes are included, then this figure is 60. In this respect the difference is largely erased.

If the statistics related to Dalits in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are better, then there are political reasons for this. In Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the participation of Dalits in the government has been high for a long time. If the study of Roger Jeffrey is to be believed, then three decades of Left rule in West Bengal also proved effective in Dalit upliftment. When the Zamindari laws were abolished there, the Dalits were ahead in getting the land lease. Apart from this, he held more than 20 percent stake in the local bodies. Due to these reasons, the Dalits in Bengal were able to move rapidly towards the mainstream socially, economically and politically. In Bihar-UP, the participation of Dalits from Panchayat to Vidhan Sabha increased only after the Mandal movement. In UP, when Mayawati became the Chief Minister thrice in the 90s, then in the coalition government. Twice there was support of BJP. For the first time, Mayawati ran the government alone between 2007 and 12. In this sense, the party formed for the rights of Dalits could get political power in the 90s, but the socio-economic development of Dalits did not meet the expectations. And when Mayawati came in 2007, the slogan had changed from Bahujan Samaj to Sarvsamaj.

Apart from this, the matter of class within the class also applies with BSP. Professor Sudha Pai therefore called the BSP a middle class party and said that it only worked to strengthen the Jatav, the strongest sub-caste of the scattered Dalit society. The BSP was formed not for poverty, oppression and social dominance for Dalits, but for development and a share in political power. Although this is his personal opinion.