We get filtered news through the English media on the UP elections. In most cases, it is what the parties would have us believe. So, stories emanate about how internal surveys show the Congress leading, and another report has the BJP focused on 243 seats of the 400+ in the state. It will all boil down to the Muslim vote, some say. Will it be united or will it split? And so on.
What I find surprising is that every party is playing the same game of caste arithmetic. I wish, and I accept that this be living in fantasy land, one of them would have chosen to create a clear positive campaign centred around good governance and development. For example, the BJP could have adopted a slogan like “Uttar Pradesh Ki Dharti, Gujarat-Bihar Ki Niti, Aap Ki Tarakki.” But we may still be a few years ahead of thinking beyond caste to economic growth as the primary aspirational agenda.
So, the game goes on. Elections, they say, are all about addition. And Indian elections like those in UP, are all about adding castes and sub-castes!