HindustanTimes Mon,15 Sep 2014
Delimitation: Modi rides neo-middle class wave in polls
Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 21, 2012
First Published: 00:56 IST(21/12/2012)
Last Updated: 02:54 IST(21/12/2012)

When he announced his party’s manifesto earlier in December, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi doffed his hat to an emerging ‘neo middle class’ as he termed it and laid out a political blueprint to woo this community.

On Thursday as the election results came in, bringing the BJP tally to 115 seats and securing a hat-trick for Modi, political observers said it’s this neo middle class that has been the big differentiator — more than caste and community.

And it’s the delimitation exercise, done in Gujarat after 15 years that saw 40 rural seats being dissolved and the emergence of 20 new urban seats that has politically empowered this new class.

“We are calling this a claste politics, a nexus of class and caste.

The emerging aspirational neo middle class is a phenomenon of increasing urbanisation in Gujarat and this class is firmly behind Modi.

The delimitation exercise has had a big impact on the 2012 polls,’’ said Vidyut Joshi, political analyst and professor with Gujarat University.

This urbanisation, political observers say, is also bringing increased cosmopolitanism that goes beyond caste identities.

The demands of this entire class are largely focused on securing a better living through job and entrepreneurial opportunities, not food security or employment guarantee schemes offered by the Congress.

Modi stands for this class, his manifesto promises to attend to their needs.

Out of the 115 seats that BJP bagged in this polls, around 60 are from big 4 cities including Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Rajkot.

“The BJP’s losses were in areas like Anand, Kheda, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha, which are essentially rural. Also, young first-time voters, estimated by some to number around 10 million are Modi supporters,’’ said Gautam Thaker, general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

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