gfiles magazine

December 10, 2015

Social upsurge

The results of the Bihar elections signal tough times ahead as the ‘haves’ feel threatened by the rise in political power of the ‘have-nots’
The outcome of the fiercely contested Bihar assembly polls has given a new direction to Indian politics to open avenues for mobilisation of the huge majority of the deprived. It may help in a quick rise of those always on the margins. Yet, it can be a dangerous weapon in the hands of unseasoned and immature minds determined to reap quicker political benefits. The misadventure of populism with a new instrument for a quickera rise in power games can be a dangerous development. The long list of recognised and unrecognised parties with the Election Commission speaks of the mushrooming growth of shops by individuals with intent to grab a seat of influence, whichever way. Such individuals are not averse to resorting to nefarious ways, including blackmail and compromises, to derive their pound of flesh from the needy.
The urban middle class has reacted sharply to the Bihar results for they had perceived a new saviour in Narendra Modi. His defeat by the “caste-ridden” politics is not only a disappointment for them, but also a cause for acute resentment. Their extreme dislike is reflected in issues like resentment over use of cow hide to make shoes. They do not perceive the unity of the deprived class as a healthy political development. It causes resentment as the upper castes have lost power levers to the OBCs once again. The class that was always confined to the lower rungs of society for centuries will now certainly call the shots. The development may not remain confined to only one state; it may follow other states, they fear.

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