The poor turnout in “literate” constituencies like Bangalore South and Bombay South has left everyone confused. OTOH, many point to the futility of the media-entertainment-industry campaign to get the “educated middle class” out, post “26/11”. OTOH, there are some like M.J. Akbar who believe it is not the rich who did not vote, but the poor.
P. Sainath in The Hindu is, however, very sure:
“On the whole, slumdogs vote in larger numbers than the white-ribbon, candlelight crowds do…. Generally, the poor vote in greater numbers. (The rich capture governments by other means.) The poor usually want to use the vote. It is the one instrument of democracy they get to exercise….
“[In contrast] there is, face it, the apathy of the comfortable. Those who might well explode in drawing-room or television studio outrage about high taxes and 26/11. But who see no real need to fiddle with the status quo. The comfort zone classes exist and are more urban than rural.
“There is also, for the non-comfort zone classes, the small matter of issues. When last did the problems of food price rise, BPL cards, or ration quotas, dominate campaigns in either the Lok Sabha or the State Assembly polls? Or those of, sanitation, water, housing, demolitions and jobs? For millions in India’s megapolis, as elsewhere, these are very real issues.”
Photograph: via Flickr
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