Ironically a rueful fact in a democracy – electoral politics in India is dominated by votebank appeasement. This votebank politics has some inherent traits.
Hindus, the majority votebank (80%), are divided and sub-divided along different caste and sub-caste lines and caste is still the major factor in deciding whom to vote for. Though, the widening base of the middle class does act independently (and so positively) of this caste prejudice sometimes, it is still a long way to go before the country can see a democratically healthy electoral process based on issues of human development.
Over the years, to exploit the caste sentiments, politicians have worked overtime to make the fissures go deeper in the fractured Hindu society by promoting caste-based politics.
On the contrary, with the minority votes, the situation is different.
They vote in pockets, more or less uniformly distributed. This pushes politicians to go to any extent to attract the minority votes. And in this minority lot, Muslims count for the biggest votebank and, so are the biggest attraction for the manipulative practice of the votebank politics.
(Now, it is matter of yet another debate if the appeasement of minorities and the subsequent votebank politics has done any good, either to the minorities, or to the overall social fabric of the country, or to democratic spirit of the country.)
The fractured majority and the consolidated minority – the paradox sums up the essence of the votebank politics in India – a paradox perpetuated by the exploitation and over-exploitation by its political class – at the cost of the democratic spirit of the Republic.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/