Forthcoming election on 7th February in Delhi is interesting in many ways. Ever since Narendra Modi led government came to power at the center, all elections except one ‘by-election’ has been one-sided. BJP has been able to beat its opponents easily. The confidence of BJP has been so high since last year that it didn’t even hesitate to dump its oldest alliance Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, and still performed exceptionally well in Maharashtra.
However, it isn’t the same case in Delhi. Delhi elections look different! Here, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given BJP, a run for its money. BJP leaders, in fact, are finding it very challenging to match AAP in many areas, and it won’t be surprising if AAP finally unsettles BJP’s electoral arithmetic.
But the most noticeable signal that has emerged from Delhi election is revival of the famous 20th century fight of bourgeoisie versus proletariat. There was a time when Marxism used to rule the roost. In Marxist philosophy the bourgeoisie is the social class who owns the means of production and whose societal concerns are the value of property and the preservation of capital, in order to ensure the perpetuation of their economic supremacy in society. Proletariat is mainly working class made of laborers. Marx had a dream and his supporters wanted dictatorship of proletariat.
In the ongoing Delhi election, looking at the current trend, AAP is having a good support base among deprived section of the society. The slum dwellers and other poor section of society seem to be firmly rallying behind AAP. This section feels that only a party like AAP can help them overcome issues that they face in day to day life. Most of them do not even have access to basic facilities like water, hygiene, regular power supply etc.
BJP on the other hand has a big support among surging middle class population of India. At this stage it is pertinent to note that middle class is no more proletariat. Post 1991 economic reforms initiated by P.V. Narasimha Rao, middle class has been a major beneficiary of economic reforms. While direct participation of middle class in economic reform is not so visible, it has definitely benefited from trickle-down effect. Reforms have also helped in creating opportunity of entrepreneurship which is admired by middle class. Middle class seems to be firmly behind BJP.
While it is unfair to say that supporters are divided like a water tight compartment and there is no over-lap but the fact remains that Delhi election has brought to the fore the fact that there is lots to be done for the poor in India and anybody taking about interest of poor in the way Arvind Kejriwal has been doing is likely to win support of this class which constitutes majority in most part of India. Disparity of income in India has grown and this has created a scope of reorganization for the poor people.
Delhi election brings a key message for both ruling party and those who wish to be the ruling party. The focus should not be just on middle class and upper middle class aspirations. Large scale poverty and deprivation need utmost attention at this stage. While the fight between Bourgeoisie and Proletariat gets debated, it is heartening to note that this election is not largely based on caste and religious lines which have been the bane of Indian democracy.
Let Marxism be back for a good cause as we have nothing to lose but poverty.
By: Vivek Sharma