24 July, 2021

'Neo-Middle Class' Worked For Modi In 2014 Elections: Leela Fernandes

Prof Leela Fernandes speaks to Outlook on urban and rural middle classes approaches to political issues/parties.

'Neo-Middle Class' Worked For Modi In 2014 Elections: Leela Fernandes

Historical social inequalities such as caste, ethnicity and religion and urban-rural differences play into the vast differentiation within the middle classes. In the post-­reforms period, English-speaking urban middle classes have sought to assert their rights and claims for representation in new ways, says Prof Leela Fernandes, author of India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform, in an interview to Lola Nayar. Excerpts…

Do urban and rural middle class have different approaches to political issues/parties with caste and religion playing a more dominant role in rural areas?

Caste and religion certainly play a significant role. Upper caste urban middle classes have in the past elections swung the BJP’s way when it had successfully portrayed the Congress as a party that was not addressing their interests. Upwardly mobile aspirational middle classes, that have felt alienated by the major political parties, had shifted their support to regional...

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