The new research book “Middle Class, Media and Modi – The Making of A New Electoral Politics”, by Nagesh Prabhu, senior journalist, published by SAGE (2020), digs into the implications of the Indian middle class growth, and uncovers its role in electoral politics, media and the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the 1980s.

The author examined the political developments from a clear-eyed and unbiased look at how the middle class transformed the political landscape in the post-liberalization India. Today’s middle class has always been at the centre of narrative around the country’s economic growth. It craved for its own economic well-being.

After debating the growth of the middle class under various Congress governments, the author discusses the role of the Indian middle class in shaping the economy and reasons for its support for the BJP in 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections. 

The book, which runs into over 400 pages, provided insights into the middle class politics and has thrown light on the use of traditional and new media by political parties, including the BJP and Prime Minister Modi. 

Unlike other books in the field, this book has analyzed the politics from the class perspective and not from a traditional caste angle, though the caste plays a major role in politics. Dr Prabhu argues that education, income, occupation and class played a significant role in voting pattern in 2014 and 2019.

The author noted the growth of the Muslim and Dalit middle class and argues that the size of the middle class was different in different states owing to variations in growth/ development.

Using his journalist skills to seriously narrate the country’s political developments from the middle class perspective, the book highlighted the role of the middle class in nation building activities during the Nehru and Indira Gandhi regimes. 

The author argues that the middle class, which used distanced itself from mainstream politics thinking that politics as a major cause of distraction for growth of their careers, are now negotiating the political frame and penalizing those who are seen as halting their growth and prosperity in the globalized economy. 

Dr. Prabhu defended the arguments by providing answers to questions such as why have the Indian middle class, and upper caste who have always found comfort in social security and stability embraced Modi’s brand of Hindutva? 

Noting the reform process, the author develops a theoretical approach to the nature of politics and class formation in the era of liberal economy.  Besides tracing programmes launched by the Modi government during the last six years, the author discusses the impact of demonetization, GST, and Ayushman Bharat and many welfare schemes on the poor and the middle class. 

The book has eight chapters.  In the present context, the subject matter of the book is important and the ease with which it written make it a worthwhile read. 

Book reviewer is Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru.

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Kota (Rajasthan)(PTI): Upset over regular fights with her husband, a 40-year-old woman allegedly jumped into a well with her five minor daughters, all of whom died, when the man had gone to attend the condolence meeting of a relative, police said Sunday.

They said the villagers spotted the six bodies Sunday morning and informed the police who rushed the bodies to a local hospital.

The deceased woman has been identified as Badamdevi, a mother of seven and the wife of Shivlal Banjara, a resident of Banjaron Ka Dera at Kaliyahedi village under Chechat police station.

The five minor deceased girls are Savitri (14), Ankali (8), Kajal (6), Gunjan (4) and one-year-old Archana. Police said the two other daughters -- Gayatri (15) and Punam (7) -- escaped the ill-fate as they remained asleep.

Chechat Circle Officer DSP Praveen Nayak said prima facie the routine fights between the woman and her husband was the reason behind the woman taking the extreme step.

Shivlal worked as a blanket and cloth vendor.

The CO said the man was not present at his home when the incident occurred on the intervening night of Saturday on Sunday as he had gone to attend the condolence meeting at his relative's home in another village.

Chechat police station SHO Rajendra Meena said the well is just 100 meters from the house of the woman.

Shivlal returned to home Sunday morning after being informed of the incident but he did not tell the police why his wife took the extreme step, the SHO said.

A case under section 174 of CrPC would be lodged in the matter to investigate carried out, he said.

The postmortem of the six bodies is underway, he said.