ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Uttar Pradesh: Impact of Identity Politics

Just ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in early 2017, this is an analysis of the identity politics that is scripting a new political paradigm in the state, undermining the focus of political parties on ideology and social justice, and transforming the Samajwadi Party, which once stood for secularism and inclusion, into a caste-based, criminalised organisation.

The decay of the Samajwadi Party, the overt dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and the steady accretion of the minority vote to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are all scripting a new political paradigm in Uttar Pradesh (UP), just ahead of the assembly elections scheduled for February–March 2017.

The most visible aspect of the political shifts in UP is the feud threatening to rip apart the ruling Yadav clan. The public sniping involving UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his sire Mulayam Singh Yadav, his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, his father’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, and politician and family friend Amar Singh, is seen as the outcome of generational transition and thus, not necessarily detrimental to the party in the long term.

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