AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND DALITS:
POLITICAL REPRESENTATION IN PANCHAYATS
Anand InbanathanAbstract While reservations of seats in the panchayats have provided political space to Dalits, this has not been translated into effective power, partly due to their recent entry into electoral politics, and the continuing dominance of individuals from groups higher in the social hierarchy. While overt discrimination is not often found, Dalits in Karnataka do not function as equals to representatives of higher castes. Likewise in Kerala, caste as a factor in political relations though less overt, is significant. Reservations have given political representation to Dalits, but their participation is constrained by the existing social structure.