Dalits and Muslims are centrepieces in Uttar Pradesh crucible. How their interests converge or diverge could mark a sea-change in the political complexion of the state in the oncoming 2022 electoral Mahabharat in the state. They would decide not only the future of those in power in Lucknow but also in Delhi.
More importantly, they are the ones who can decide whether politics in UP would transcend the identity politics trap of casteism-communalism binary and development-for-all subalterns takes centrestage. Hence, their recent evolution and inter-relations gains significance.
Although Dalits and Muslims comprise around 20% each of the UP population, politics is never decided as an arithmetic sum in purely demographic terms. The actual state they are in and the interface between them differ from area to area and also depend upon their mutual relations with other castes.
For instance, Yadavs and Muslims are known for their proximity to each other and both have rallied solidly behind Samajwadi Party.
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