The total eligible voters of India can be classified in to three categories. First is rich class including ruling class, which comprises around 5% of the population! The political affiliation of this class is more or less fixed and is mostly a voting class.
Second is poor class. This includes poor class of all communities including SC, ST, OBC, financially backward & other socially cornered group. This class too is a voting class but their votes are mostly salable against cash and kind, on caste or religion basis. This class is known as vote bank for different categories.
Their political affiliation is on the basis of emotion, ideological provocation, caste, creed, religion, race, populist sops and in some cases hard cash before the day of election. This comprises around 45% of the population and ike bonded voters to different parties on different offerings.
Third and the important class is Middle class. This comprises around 45% of the population (from lower middle class to higher middle class). Except a negligible percent none has any political affinity and loyalty. Around 10% of this class is regularly voting where as remaining 35% never votes! Voting day is a vacation day for them.
This important middle class is never falls in to the trap of vote bank politics. They are mostly medium business persons or salaried persons. They want development, growth, job security, decent life style and all fundamental rights. Yes, for fundamental duties like voting, participation in democratic process there is always no-no. Thus 35% of this class can be considered as non-voting class!
Interestingly the 10% middle class voting always bring change in many states & even general election as remaining first & second class voting remain intact with different political parties balancing each other. This 10% vote changes regime in Kerala, TN, Rajasthan & other states.
This is called as floating voters or swing voters who vote according to their understanding without any allegiance. This also help performing governments remaining in power despite incumbency, like YSR, Naveen Pattanaik, Shivraj Chouhan, Modi himself, Shiela Dikshit & so on!
However such voting class sometimes can’t break through the established strong vote bank equations, like Lalu’s social engineering, Left’s Bengal cadre system. A study shows that an increase of just 5% in middle class voting during 2005 assembly election failed Lalu’s defense and gave mandate to Nitish Kumar, which even Nitish Kumar never expected.
A further increase of 5% middle class voting in Bihar in 2010 almost wiped out RJD, LJP etc who depended upon vote bank politics and emotive issues. Similarly an increase of middle class voting up 7% in West Bengal make Left front out of the power after more than three decades. None has ever expected such a stunning result, but this happened because of marginal rise in middle class voters.
In 2004 general elections, there was a decrease of middle class voters. Result is despite good performance, BJP lost the mandate and Congress surprisingly came back to power forming UPA. In 2009 the middle class vote increased but it supported to UPA.
There were two main reasons for this. First during 2008 global recession, Indian economy maintained its status and secondly, Manmohan Singh displayed his courage for nuclear treaty. Both the incidents win middle class hearts and result was Congress and UPA got a larger mandate.
Thus the middle-class in general and non-voting middle class in particular is very important during 2014 election.
During UPA-II, Middle class is the worst hit. The ever increasing inflation already affected their life style. Added with job cuts, layoffs, no increment in salary etc., almost brought the middle class into the brink in last couple of years. They are most taxed, helpless and angry.
This is the key to Narendra Modi’s success. He is already very popular among middle class people. His charisma created a great euphoria among them and all of them see Modi a savior. Modi too understand this and focuses on this middle class particularly the non-voting 35% of middle class! His entire strategy is to bring this class up to ballot box and made them to vote.
If this ignorant class out of desperation comes for voting, miracle would happen and Modi should be sailing smoothly, as their voting is neither on vote bank, nor on any riot or emotive seven sensitive issues rather on development and growth. None but Modi is the best mascot at the moment for growth and development.
Many critics may say this is a wishful thinking, but those who have seen Indian politics very closely and tracked the change in public attitudes will definitely say nothing is impossible in Indian politics. Modi & BJP is harping on this school of thought & I don’t think they are wrong in hoping so!