The Class Element in the 2014 Indian Election and the BJP’s Success with Special Reference to the Hindi Belt
Studies in Indian politics
IN : SAGE Publications
19 - 38 p.
Indian 2014 general elections, BJP, Caste politics, Class, India, Hindi belt
Class has played a more important role than before in the 2014 election. Class-based voting patterns have contributed to the success of Narendra Modi, not only because he has capitalized on the support of the middle class, traditionally pro-BJP, but also because he has attracted large sections of the emerging ‘neo-middle class’, an aspiring social category born out of the economic growth of the previous decade. This new class has put the very notion of the OBCs in question, in particular in the Hindi belt, its stronghold in the 1990s. The BJP has benefited from the differentiation of the OBCs in socio-economic terms. Its upwardly mobile layer expected from Modi jobs and ‘development’ in general. This evolution does not mean that caste politics is over at the jati level, at least in the Hindi belt. Yadavs do not vote more for the BJP the richer they are because their elite groups stick to parties (the SP, the RJD) to which they owe their political clout. Brahmins and the Rajputs vote for the BJP whatever their class is almost, because to be associated with this party is part of their status and their ethos. Dalits continue to reject the BJP because of its political culture and social agenda. The resilience of identity politics is even more evident among the Muslims who have supported the Congress irrespective of their class in order to counter Modi’s BJP.