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Dalit Assertion through Electoral Politics

Pushpendra
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 34, No. 36 (Sep. 4-10, 1999), pp. 2609-2618
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4408373
Page Count: 10
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Dalit Assertion through Electoral Politics
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Abstract

The post-independence period has seen democratic institutions gaining greater legitimacy among the scheduled castes, who having grown conscious of their numerical strength in electoral arena, are exercising their voting right more forthrightly. This has liberated them from the role of passive voter-supporter in the overall environment of subjugation and subordination, to actively shifting their traditional party loyalties in favour of new parties espousing their interests. If the SCs in varying degrees have deserted the Congress, in various states, the growing class differentiation amongst them has resulted in the lower class dalits opting for exclusively SC-based parties like the BSP, the Left Front or the left-of-the centre regional parties. Yet, as the CSDS survey shows, though political institutions of Indian democracy have gained support of the SCs, there has been a erosion of their confidence in the political parties. This alarmingly signals that the support extended by the dalits to the parliamentary system should not be taken for granted.

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