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Indian Middle Class and Electoral Politics

Poulomi Chakrabarti

Neighborhood Associations have assumed an important role in public policy decision making as the principal voice of the middle class across urban India. In recent years, these associations have sought a more formal role in policy making by contesting for political office in local elections in at least five major cities. This is significant not only because of its “newness” and implications on public policy but also because it represents a blurring of boundaries between the civil society, traditionally characterized by its ‘apolitical’ nature, and the political society which has largely been the domain of the poor. Using the case of Delhi and drawing on examples from other metropolitan cities, this paper attempts to understand the factors that have led to the rise of middle class neighborhood associations and their subsequent advent into formal politics.

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