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Will Modi have the last laugh in India's presidential polls? Whats this?
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Despite talks about electing meritorious candidates, the masses have typically voted for a candidate of their own caste

Will Modi have the last laugh in India's presidential polls?

The BJP's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind (secont left) meets leaders of the Telugu Desam Party, a regional party in Andhra Pradesh state, July 4 seeking their support. (Photo by IANS) 

Nirendra Dev, New Delhi
India

July 13, 2017

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The July 17 presidential election in the world's largest democracy is widely acknowledged to be an issue of caste. Both the government and opposition's nominations pitch a Dalit against a Dalit. It is a move that many have interpreted as political, and lacking altruistic motives to support India's socially oppressed classes.

In more ways than one, the Indian electorate is responsible for the caste issues that dominate their politics. Despite the talks about electing meritorious candidates, the masses have always typically voted for a candidate of their own caste. The political classes have danced to this tune and been careful not to disturb the caste-obsessed Indian psyche.

The caste system is referenced as far back as the ancient scripts, which identify the Brahmins — priestly people, the Kshatriyas — rulers, administrators and warriors, the Vaishyas — artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers, and Shudras — the laboring classes. Those not within this caste system are know as Dalit, the Sanskrit term that means trampled upon to denote the former untouchable castes within Hindu society.

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