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Has The Congress Miscalculated?

Swapan Dasgupta in the Telegraph:

...The ‘civil society’ that Anna represented was the influential metropolitan middle class, many of whom were PLUs. Ramdev’s support base was drawn primarily from B, C and D category towns and lacked either clout or glamour. The English-language media was openly contemptuous of his mission, portraying it as a variant of another Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-sponsored gau rakshan show. There was not a single Bollywood star to keep company of the relatively unknown religious figures that graced Ramdev’s dais. Even Anna was in two minds over being present on the stage. Each of the sadhus may have had a following of lakhs but this was not the power elite Delhi knew. To them, it was an assembly of obscurantists.

The scepticism of the PLUs contrasted starkly with the earnestness with which the Hindi channels dealt with the Ramdev phenomenon. To their viewership, Ramdev was a venerated figure and not someone whose raw understanding of economics was worthy of mockery.

The sharp class divide was unmistakable. The last occasion I witnessed this was the Ayodhya movement. Till L.K. Advani’s rath yatra in 1990, cosmopolitan India treated the fuss over Ram’s birthplace with sneering contempt. It was blind to the raw emotions unleashed in the hinterland, a phenomenon that was dismissed as ‘false consciousness’.

Read on at The Telegraph

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