18th June 2011
The Indian middle class has taken baby steps in politics. Now is it ready for the big game?
I won't refer in detail to the Swatantra Bharat Party (January 2004) of which I was a member of the national executive for 18 months before resigning because of its shortcomings that I won't go into here. It predominantly consisted of farmers led by Sharad Joshi – tens of thousands of farmers. It failed to engage the educated Indian middle class. And so it can't be said to be a middle class political effort.
But since 2006, some baby steps have been taken by the Indian middle class in terms of directly engaging with politics. After nearly 55 years of thinking of politics as a spectator sport, the middle class started showing some interest in political action in the cities.
The main highlights of this engagement have been:
a) Small micro-political parties have been established, e.g. Lok Satta, Jago Party, Professionals Party, etc. etc. Now, there were already nearly 2000 odd political parties in India in the past, but these were mostly established at the grassroots level: in small towns and villages. This time was different. It was the highly educated groups that were now beginning to lead – and these parties had NO grassroots base. These were city-based parties and reached out primarily to the educated middle class. They were booted out by the people in the elections. The first attempts by the middle class to engage politically were brutally rebuffed by the voter, leaving the middle class perplexed, its ego in tatters.
b) A Jago Re campaign was launched to promote voting by the middle classes. This did not have much of an impact but at least it was a start in the right direction.
c) Some genuine middle-class mobilisation occurred after the 26/11/2008 Mumbai attacks. But this fizzled out quickly.
d) Anna Hazare's IAC movement crossed over between the urban middle class and rural middle class. Ramdev's intervention brought some traditional Hindu support as well. But again, this movement failed because it did not address key problems, not had the appropriate strategy.
In sum, since 2006, the middle class of India is slowly beginning to engage politically and make a claim to a better India the way it sees it. But it finds itself isolated and shattered today – with no possibility of these methods bringing about any change.
After five years of these failed efforts I hope the middle class is ready to review its strategy.
I have offered a simple and clear strategy since 1998, but a more precise and targeted – and GUARANTEED to be successful – strategy since 2006 (FTI: established in 2007).
The middle class educated voter needs to consider this durable and SUCCESSFUL strategy more carefully. Then it will succeed in gaining traction in the political arena.
Without a very clear strategy – of the sort that FTI brings – let me note that the aspirations of the middle class – of seeing a great India – will be continuously rebuffed. You need 300 seats in parliament. Else forget the idea of change.
The benefit of education is supposedly that educated people are able to think. I suggest the middle class start THINKING – now!
Please review what has been done, what has gone wrong, and why. And then consider FTI's simple strategy that is GUARANTEED to succeed.
There is no need to waste your time, young folk, in wasteful activity! Just follow the very clear and well-considered pathway outlined by FTI and you WILL succeed. I guarantee that!