In today’s ET I found a very good article written by Mythili Bhusnurmath on the subject.
While suggesting that unless all political parties come together and work out a solution that addresses genuine deprivation regardless of caste, creed or religion, it is only a matter of time before we see a repeat of the anger of castes clamouring for downward mobility in the social pecking order to garner reservation status.
In today’s world where mobility is easy, poverty, rather than caste, is the single biggest handicap. A beginning has been made with the suggestion that reservation be extended to poorer sections among the forward communities by the newly elected Chief Minister of UP, Ms. Mayawati. Can the political parties take a cue from this and act on it before it is too late?
I doubt it. Mayawati may be articulating an idea whose time has come. But can Mayawati herself be trusted to act upon what she has said on this? What all would be needed for her to go back on her words would be a single defeat in yet another election. I agree fully with Mythili Bhusnurmath in holding the view that as long as we have the first-past-the-post system of winning elections there will always be a tendency for political parties to play the caste card. In this system, we should note the fact that people with less than 51% of the votes polled get elected. Assuming that a candidate has garnered 49% vote, even though he may be the winner in the election, does it not signify that 51% of the people have in fact rejected him? So, what is the solution for this?
First of all make affirmative action more focused as a delivery vehicle of social justice by calculating the ‘disadvantage index’. This index can identify potential quota beneficiaries not on caste alone, but on various other criteria including gender, education, geographical location and family income.
Then switch over to a proportional system of elections. This idea is explained in detail in today’s Times of India. Though a complex process to administer in a country like
Do I see anybody saying ‘aye’? I hear only ‘nays’!!! From the political class that is. But nothing wrong in dreaming. At least nobody has taken away my right to dream. Not yet.