Women are now being courted by some politicians who sense that their appeal to Dalits, backward castes and Muslims is dwindling in the absence of providing more and more sops, or that their rivals are more successful in cultivating these vote banks.
In the Hindi belt, for instance, the support base of the Yadavs, the most dominant of the backward castes, has become the monopoly of Laloo Prasad Yadav in Bihar and Mulayam Singh Yadav in U.P.
Interestingly, these bases are not transferrable across the boundaries of the two states. Evidently, the Bihari Yadavs are not enamoured of the leader of their caste group in U.P. and vice versa.
It is this watertight division which made Mulayam Singh break away from the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in Bihar last year and ring the death knell of the proposed Janata "parivar" comprising remnants of the old Janata Dal.