What the Uttar Pradesh Elections Mean for Indian Democracy

My old friend Sumantra Bose in openDemocracy on the latest democratic revolt by the lower castes and poor in India:

What does this [victory of the BSP or “Party of the Social Majority”] tell us about the evolution of India’s democracy? The implications are several and significant. The Uttar Pradesh outcome is the latest and most striking example of how the democratic space can be effectively utilised by political entrepreneurs who have emerged from among India’s poor and downtrodden – Mayawati comes from a Dalit family of very modest means – to give their subaltern following not just a voice, but a powerful voice, in the polity. The fact that Uttar Pradesh’s new chief minister is not just a Dalit, but a Dalit woman, is perhaps equally significant since the condition of women in UP is among the worst in India.