Two parties, two families, two castes… Himachal Pradesh politics revolves around these. Rajputs and Brahmins these two castes rule the politics of Himachal Pradesh. If the Rajputs became kings, the Brahmins were asserting their power as kingmakers.
Region and caste play a very important role in the politics of Himachal Pradesh. Rajputs and Brahmins are doing politics keeping the state under their control. In the 55 years since the formation of the state, five chief ministers have been Rajputs, while Shanthakumar has created a record as the only Brahmin CM. During 1993-2017, the families of Veerabhadrasingh of the Congress Party and Prem Kumar Dhumal of the BJP turned the tide in politics. They are the leaders of the Rajput family. With Shanthakumar, a Brahmin belonging to the BJP, serving as the CM of the state for two terms, these two castes mainly dominated politics. If the chief minister of the state is a Rajput, it has become a custom here that the person who looks after the organizational affairs of the party is a Brahmin.
50% of the population belongs to those two castes
Rajputs constitute 32% of the state’s population, followed by SCs at 25%. Brahmins are at the third position with 18%. Rajputs and Brahmins together make up to 50% of the population and they rule the politics. Brahmins have always sided with the BJP, while the Rajputs sometimes sided with each party. Political analyst Professor Chauhan opined that since SCs do not have a popular leader, they oscillate between BJP and Congress. Among the five chief ministers of the state, YS Parmar, Thakur Ramlal, Veerbhadra Singh, Premkumar Dhumal, and the current Chief Minister Jairam Thakur are Rajputs, while Shanta Kumar, who has served as CM twice, is the only Brahmin. Trying its luck in Himachal for the first time, the Aam Aadmi Party is looking to capture the Punjabi votes in the lower Himachal region. They are all in business.
BJP’s net on BCs and STs
Contrary to the tradition of changing the government every five years in the state, the BJP is planning to win the votes of SCs and OBCs. It also passed a bill to grant ST status to the Hati community in the state. For the last 50 years, Haitians have been demanding ST status. On September 14, the Union Cabinet took a decision to grant ST status to elephants in the Sirmargiri region. This will benefit 1.6 lakh people. During the repeal of the SC and ST Rape Act, the majority of Dalits protested in this region. To quell the discontent among them, the BJP has taken a decision by giving ST status to elephants. This time, BJP has reduced the tickets given to Rajputs a bit and has shown favor towards other castes. While the Congress party gave tickets to four OBCs, the BJP fielded six. In that too, tickets were given to the Ghirt group, which is dominant among OBCs. In the non-reserved constituencies of STs, tickets were also given to three STs. The Congress party has given tickets to OBC leaders in four constituencies that fielded Rajputs and Brahmins.
– Witness, National Desk
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