The Times of India
The Dalits have come into their own, said The Times of India. This lowest of castes, once known as untouchables, has risen to power in Uttar Pradesh, Indias most populous state. Its the first time in more than 15 years that a single party has won an outright majority in the state. Led by Mayawati, a Dalit woman who goes by only one name, the Bahujan Samaj Party reached out beyond its traditional caste base. Mayawati realized that electoral arithmetic was against the BSP if its support remained restricted to Dalits, who make up just 21 percent of the Uttar Pradesh population. So she wooed the Brahmins who, though at the other end of the caste spectrum, have been consistently marginalized in state politics. The clever inversion of caste logic paid off. Mayawatis party list included uppercaste Hindus, lowercaste Hindus, and a decent representation of Muslimsan impressive diversity of candidates that resonated with the states eclectic electorate. Such a politics of inclusion could easily attract voters in other states as well. If Mayawati plays her cards right, the BSPs elephant could become a familiar symbol across India.