But this week we may have seen a riposte-Narendra Modi's manifesto for the Gujarat state assembly polls.
As has been reported, the manifesto focuses on what he says is the "neo middle class" which, presumably, comprises people who are above the poverty line, but not quite the middle class in terms of orthodox definitions.
Gujarat Chief Minister Naredndra Modi, State BJP president R C Faldu and Senior BJP Leader Arun Jaitley, releasing an Election Manifesto in Ahmedabad
Addressing them, the manifesto has promised not just 30 lakh jobs, but 50 lakh houses over the next five years.
There would be a network of hostels for 40,000 students, as well as a scholarship for the needy.
To facilitate development of skills in a big way, the government would set up a skill development corporation and skill development university, a promise, if carried through, will make Gujarat the only State to boast of such services.
Besides promising insurance for all Gujaratis, Modi has promised to build speciality hospitals in all the principal cities of the state. Now election manifestos-Modi calls it a "commitment letter" -are old hat in elections.
But the significance of Modi's manifesto lies in its wider ramifications since it can provide the BJP, otherwise seemingly bereft of ideas, with a national scheme that could take on the Congress party's pro-poor and social welfare plank.
Gujarat's urban population is currently 43 per cent, well above the national average of 32 per cent. But surely and relentlessly, the whole country is urbanising and the demands of the urban population are generally ignored by politicians who think that the key to their salvation lies in the rural areas.
This is demographically true for the India of today, though it is also a fact that the "farmer" has an almost mystical electoral power-witness the agricultural subsidy regimes in developed countries like the US, Japan and the EU.
But the middle class is the core of a country- it produces the teachers, office-workers, artists, writers, bureaucrats, engineers, technicians, media personnel and so on who define the ethos of its society.
Modi's gamble, ostensibly aimed at the Gujarat assembly elections, becomes the only workable challenge to the all-encompassing aam admi of the Congress party.
But where the aam admi is wooed by entitlements, Modi is promising the American dream- the creation of opportunities. In other words, he is telling the hard-working "neo-middle class": You keep on working hard, and the state is with you and will facilitate your aspirations.
Here, there is no appeal to caste, community or ethnicity. The message is to "Gujaratis". Tomorrow, of course, the same message could be the killer app to attract all Indians.
The neo-middle classes are not the hapless poor who are completely without hope, education or even adequate employment.
They are those who by the dint of their hard work have managed to establish themselves in the urban and semi-urban centres and are looking for the government to facilitate their social and economic ascent.
They want an enabler, not someone who grants them their rights as a political boon. In the 2009 elections, the Congress led UPA swept all the seats in the four metros- Delhi (7 seats), Mumbai (6) seats, Kolkata (4) and Chennai (3). According to a study of the 2009 elections, in the smaller towns and cities the UPA captured 67 seats with a success rate of 56 per cent. In other words, "in the urban constituencies, the success ratio of the Congress and its allies was much better than in rural areas."
Actually the study by Vanita Leah Falcao in the Economic and Political Weekly, based on the National Election Study, shows that while there was not much of a change from the Congress performance in the urban areas in 2004, the NDA was a heavy loser with the BJP and its allies losing more in cities than in rural areas.
The BJP's poor showing among the urban middle classes was surprising since the BJP began as a largely urban phenomenon. Urban voters are driven by issues like employment, provision of bijli, sarak and makaan, public transport, healthcare costs, as well as issues like terrorist strikes. In India, in contrast to their counterparts in the developed world, they also tend to be less inclined to vote.
Though as Falcao points out, in the 2009 elections, there was not much difference between the rural and urban turnout.
It is clear that in coming up with his "neo middle class" manifesto, Modi and his advisors have been doing some thinking.
Clearly, they see the importance of its application nationally where it could rejuvenate the BJP's erstwhile base, and capture newer supporters. Nothing here indicates any intention on Modi's part to dilute the BJP's anti-Muslim stance.
Indeed, the strategy is probably to ignore the Muslim community, just as it has been done in Gujarat.
The kind of influence that Muslims have spread out in rural areas of India could well decline were they to become part of the urban landscape.
Then, it is a well known phenomenon that the urban middle classes do not like Muslims who get ghettoised in urban environments.
This prejudice, will no doubt, extend to the "neo middle class" as well.
While the numbers of Muslims in many other parts of the country are much larger than in Gujarat, their impact would be managed by a strategy that defeats the current caste and community based mobilisation and replaces it with one that focuses on a class.
The BJP under Modi is seeking to reach its elusive "Hindu" majority via the neodevelopmental platform, rather than the Ram mandir.