In yet another worrying development for the opposition, 5Forty3, a leading psephology agency which has made impeccable electoral predictions in the past including BJP’s 300+ seats victory in Uttar Pradesh, has now come out with some interesting insights. It states that for the past two years, the trend of Dalits supporting the BJP has only intensified.
5Forty3 has given three instances which show that this trend is still going strong and is here to stay. The most important one is this week’s municipal elections in Maharashtra. The Dalits supported the BJP in big numbers, even though huge protests were orchestrated by vested interests after the Supreme Court judgment regarding the SC/ ST Act on 2nd April. As far as the UP by-polls are concerned, a short study carried out by the agency found that a big chunk of non-Chamar Dalits simply did not participate in voting (probably because by-polls never see much enthusiasm in India) , but they were as enthusiastic towards Prime Minister Modi’s re-election in 2019 as they had been in 2014 and 2017. Lastly, 5Forty3 made yet another prediction- that the Karnataka elections will witness the biggest demographic movement of non-dominant Dalit classes towards the BJP. The intensity of this movement is so high in Karnataka that even in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s own constituency, BJP is the first choice among the Dalits.
Example 1: in Karnataka, the biggest demographic movement in May elections is likely to happen among non dominant Dalit castes towards BJP. Even in "AHINDA" CM Siddramaiah's constituency, BJP is Dalits 1st choice!
— Dr Praveen Patil (@5Forty3) April 13, 2018
Example 3: our brief study after last month's UP bypolls showed that a big chunk of non-Chamar Dalits simply didn't turnout on election day, but they are as enthusiastic about Modi for 2019 as they were in 2014 and 2017!!!
— Dr Praveen Patil (@5Forty3) April 13, 2018
According to a Twitter thread posted by the leading agency, there is a Dalit movement towards the BJP. The opposition threatened by its fast diminishing vote bank resorted to all kinds of political trickery. They tried using their mainstream media outlets for aggressively building a narrative that the BJP is at loggerheads with the Dalits. Every isolated incident of local tussles involving someone from the Dalit community was projected as a nationwide trend of Dalit oppression with the connivance of the BJP and Prime Minister Modi. Many a times, the “prevalent social unrest” was created out of thin air by the opposition. Their modus operandi was to push and reinforce the ‘BJP versus Dalit’ narrative. However, going by the data collected by 5Forty3, the opposition has failed to make any impact whatsoever. Dalits are strongly in favour of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There are no signs of this trend going awry.
5Forty3’s findings have also exposed how the greater inclusion of Dalits within the broad Hindu community, showcased by fewer social conflicts, is a worrying trend for the liberal mafia. The pseudo-seculars have lost the Muslim-Dalit combination which was at one point seen as a foolproof winning combine. However, as the Dalits have become disillusioned with the pseudo-seculars and have realised that they were used as mere electoral pawns, the farce of secularism created and nurtured by the politician-media-intellectuals nexus for decades has become obsolete. The opposition is now almost totally dependent on Muslim votes, and these too are divided among a group of like-minded casteist and communal parties. In fact, there have been many instances where the opposition has been scared even by the proposition of Dalits wholeheartedly embracing Hindutva. There has always been a conscious strategy to break away the Dalits from the Hindu community with infamous slogans such as RPI(A)’s 1962 election pitch “Jatav-Muslim bhai bhai, Hindu kaum kaha see aayi” (Jatavs and Muslims are like brothers, where did the Hindu community come from). In fact, it is a nightmare for the opposition to lose the Dalit vote to the BJP.
One can safely proclaim that since 1947, never have so many Dalits been so Hindutva-embracing as is the case today in the Modi era!
— Dr Praveen Patil (@5Forty3) April 14, 2016
The opposition’s strategy to woo the Dalits and isolate the rest of the Hindus no longer works. The change in Dalit vote share is a universal phenomenon which explains in part how the BJP is becoming popular even in regions that were once thought to be outside its sphere of influence. Dalits are here to stay with the BJP suggesting tough times ahead for the opposition. The opposition has also understood this and it does understand that the only way to defeat the BJP is to regain the lost vote bank. We can expect more outrage on the part of the opposition as well as sponsored or orchestrated protests to wean away the Dalits from the BJP.