While the country is not new to caste-based politics, sadly, the poor and the downtrodden are at the receiving end always. A recent round of meals that the State BJP President B.S. Yeddyurappa shared with several Dalit families at their homes, snowballed into a huge controversy. Mr. Yeddyurappa and his team first received flak for ordering food from outside which started after a Dalit youth filed a complaint with the Mandya district police against Karnataka BJP chief, accusing him of practising untouchability. Is this his bid to win brownie points and widen his voter base - the polls are due either later this year or in May next year.
Joyeeta Chakraborty finds that most young people do get that politicians play the caste card with impunity. But unlike the rural youngster, hardly a handful of the urban millenial will give their stamp of approval to such cynical politics.
“When I read about i,t I was like, this is not right. These parties follow no religion when it comes to politics and casteism has always ruled the roost. For Congress, it is always with SC/STs or Dalits. They need to know that the public has observed them for years and we know what their plans are," says 26-year-old Lokesh who works in an insurance firm.
Lokesh and his friends have one thing in common, none of them like politics, be it Karnataka or India. "We have lost interest in politics because of these wicked games and nothing beneficial coming out of afterwards. Not many youngsters are interested in politics and do not wish to follow it. You now know why" stresses 23-year-old Clement who looks pretty miffed about the developments. "I hate politics and the way it has corrupted the whole system," chimes in Rajender.
"Man can go to any extent to make name and fame and Indian politics is the biggest example of that. Look at how they play dirty, for seats and to win elections. This is how it is. This is the truth," scoffs Clement. "Eating meals in Dalit homes to demonstrate how just is their side, will not work anymore. The Dalit community needs help after the whole eating is done, with proper education opportunities, healthcare and jobs. Where is that?" questions Lokesh.
"If this is how our country is going to go on, then trust me after a few years the youth won't even go out to cast their vote.I mean who will they vote for when all their dirty politics comes to light. The truth is no one is spared from the power. Look at Kejriwal now, he's become irrelevant" says Clement who adds that sadly the common man who wants bring about change does not even have the option to even stand against these mighty politicos as they have no power or standing in the society.
"With this kind of politician, how can society change?" he asks. The three friends make a valid point. "After all these dinner dates with nothing coming out of it, none of it even helped save the life of Rohit Vemula."
"Show me one instance when the lives of the Dalits they have meals with, changes for the better," they said. “Nothing is done to ease their troubles once their purpose is served,” he adds. “The youth is now more aware but becoming rapidly disinterested. What we need is a non-discriminatory environment for everyone, not just Dalits.” Right you are, Lokesh!