Social Class In Delhi Elections

Facebook sites are agog with slogans, Nikalo aaj makaano se, jung ladho beimano se..exhorting citizens to vote for the candidates in the Delhi elections. The mainstay of the present elections seems to be corruption, thanks to the presence of the Aam Admi Party, the new presence that promises clean politics. This elections has no issues around it and yet voters are sharply divided into two groups and the three camps; the Congress, the BJP and the Aam Admi Party. There is a group which would vote for the Congress as a reward for what it has done for Delhi while there is another group who find the Congress government to be corrupt and callous. The latter group is divided into two further camps; the older and middle aged persons well entrenched into their life statuses while the other comprises of younger people with dreams, hopes, trepidations and anxieties as those the youth suffer anywhere in the world. These groups are so well divided that if one knew the background of the voter one could easily establish her voting preference.

In the circle that I move around everyone is a Congress voter. These are the rich who, during the regime of Congress in Delhi have become richer. Expectedly then they would be loyal to a system that has helped them grow. The BJP voters are those who have typically not done too well, struggled to improve their lot, and slipped back despite the hard work. This kind is likely to be resentful of a regime which has created opportunities which were for others. The BJP is an ideology based on the attack of the “other”; it might be the Muslims as a concrete category but in a generalized sense, its ideology is to attack the one who seemingly has beaten them to the finishing line. The voters of the Aam Admi Party are the educated middle aged and the aspiring youth, both of who desire to shape their lives up, need to take command over the future, the control the political discourse, invigilate governance and emerge as a moral force to regulate the rest of the society.  The desire to rule is the strongest in the Aam Admi Party voters.

Politics of elections are expressions of social conflicts and contestations. The entrenchment of a Party, especially like that of the Congress in Delhi was indeed a sign of satisfaction which the citizens of Delhi had with the Sheila Dixit government. She used urban development as her plank to legitimize her rule and truly then urban infrastructure was supposed to have helped everybody access superior opportunities in the city. But development has its own pitfalls; everybody wants to come into a city with facilities which lead to overcrowding, desperations and therefore in the rising crime rates. Corruption is bound to rise with speculators of food products, private electricity companies raising bills to fancy rates and the city administration descending on people with land acquisitions, clearings and demolitions. Overpopulation raises prices of goods and services making it difficult for the local population of the city access instruments needed for a decent living.  The local population who loses out to the new economy of Delhi is the largest support base of the BJP.  The local people and the new migrant who has benefitted in their various capacities and made more money through Delhi’s large scale public investments are the Congress’s bastions. But the professional, the academic, the educated who is perhaps the first generation migrant into Delhi, who has the power of thought and articulation and who has decided that a city driven only by the power of money instead of the power of culture and erudition is effete and crass is the voter for the Aam Admi Party. This is why we find in colleges and schools, in courts and bureaucracy, among the youth in the marginalized slums of Delhi, the young persons with bare graduate degrees in call centres, the ushers of cinema halls, the hands in the shops of the malls vote desperately for the Aam Admi Party. They are calling for a change in the order, an order which will be ruled more by the moral terms of this new brand of the educated and the professional and perhaps the salaried, or what we would call as the middle class intelligentsia a century ago.

About secondsaturn

Independent Scholar. Polymath.
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