Democracy is unthinkable without political parties. And without a committed base of volunteers, workers and cadres, it is hard for any party to survive in the competitive arena of electoral politics. While the burgeoning research on the transactional relationship between politicians and voters has improved our understanding about the role of political workers as middlemen, the research on their role as activist of political parties is conspicuous by its absence.
Even the knowledge of basic things such as the demographic profile of workers of a party largely relies on proxy measures such as its voting base. We assume that a BJP worker is more likely to be upper caste and urban, and a BSP activist would be a Dalit. Whereas the social base of political parties keeps shrinking and expanding, as we know from the experience of the BJP and the BSP over the past decade.