Caste is the sole basis of social community. It can take various forms in politics.
(i) Selection of Candidates in Politics: When parties choose candidates in elections, they keep in mind the caste composition of the electorate and nominate candidates from different castes so as to muster necessary support to win elections. When governments are formed, political parties usually take care that representatives of different castes and tribes find a place in it.
(ii) Political Parties as the Representatives of Caste : Political parties and candidates in elections make appeals to caste sentiments to muster support. Some political parties are known to favour some castes and are seen as their representatives, e.g., BSP in India.
(iii) Caste influences Universal Adult Franchise : Universal adult franchise and the principle of one- person one-vote compelled political leaders to gear up to the task of mobilising and securing political support. It also brought new consciousness among the people of castes that were hitherto treated as inferior and low.
(iv) Various caste groups are required to enter into a coalition with other castes or communities and thus enter into a dialogue and negotiation.
(v) New kinds of caste groups have come up in the political arena like “backward” and “forward caste groups.”
(vi) Thus, the focus on caste in politics can sometimes give an impression that elections are all about caste and nothing etc.
But, in spite of these forms of caste in politics, people’s assessment of the performance of the government and the popularity rating of the leaders matter and are often decisive in elections.