The Whole Country Looks Toward Karnataka


Karnataka is heading for an election on May 10. The whole country is looking forward to this election. Because it is not only crucial for Karnataka’s future but it is also crucial for country India for the coming parliamentary election in 2024. In fact it sounds so imporatant because incumbent BJP party has been completely demoralised and has been exposed as a very corrupt party. The very corrupt government that karnataka has ever seen. It is known as 40% commission government. The party does not have a single agenda to go to the people taking its perfomance

There are repeated surveys which had asked the people of Karnataka to name one single policy or one single project of the incumbent goverenment for which they want to vote. But they could not remember even a single project of the Karnataka state governement. Of course there are the central government projects like ‘Ujjuala’ etc.

And in the last two and half years especially after Bommai became the Chief minister, the Karnataka has seen its worst kind of communal polarisation that is taking place in the state. You might have witnessed hijab Controversy, which became all india controversy, halal controversy, economic boycott of muslims, anti – conversion law, Jihad. One after the another there has been a continuous kind of polarisation based on religion, communalism and hindutva that has been the current undercurrent of the BJP governement. Recently, just one and half year before , they have took up the project of correcting the textbooks and the hindutva alliance.

In fact, the Karnataka government has given 26 pages to the national curriculum framework, the project of building a new curriculum framework for the future society. And in each and every paper ,they have emphasised the hindutva way of philosophy, society, political science. Everything actually. So now , in that way Karnataka election would be crucial that whether the people of Karnataka are going to see through this plan. Because when they did not have any performance agenda, they are consistantly banking up on the communally polarising agenda. Whether the people of Karnataka see through that , whether they give preferance to corruption and non governance and vote out the governement?!,  if that happens that will be good for the country in whole. If that does not happen, like it has happened in the other states. For example, in 2022 also U P government did not have any great kind of governance policy issues. It actually polarised the whole society and on the basis of polarisation they got 2% extra vote than what they got in 2017 and came to governance. We have seen Gujarath election recently. Even in Gujarat, governance and development did not matter. It was communal polarisation that mattered.

Because southern India is generally considered as a progressive part of this country and Karnataka has been the gateway to south india for the BJP and RSS. RSS has been working consistantly to hindutvalise the different sectors of this state. Infact for BJP, for a long time it is Linkayats , who were the backbone of the BJP party in the state. But Linkayats as such does not belong to hindu religion and it is actually anti- brahmanical . The egalitarian ideals of linkayats completely is in confrontation with the brahmanical hindutva ideology. But still, the BJP and the RSS was succesful in taking linkayats into their home.  They are ctually Rssfying the many social and economic elites of the Linkayats. Likewise they have trained the new ploy of communalising the vakkalikas of the southern Mysore. Because southern Mysore is know for its secular credentials because we have Tippu Sulthan who has been very secular in his nature and who had brought deep rooted farmer friendly policies for the first time in the history of Karnataka and the coutry for that matter.

The farmers belonging to the shuddras and dalits got the land in their name. They actually got the dignity. This questioned the brahmandom. It was actually anti – brahmanical . Tippu Sulthan can be summarised as anti – brahmanical and anti – colonial . In Karnataka, especially in southern Mysore, remember him as people’s human. There were many folk songs about Tippu which memorizes him as a great  legendary human. Even the vakkalikas,dalits, non muslims actually have a great reverence towards him .  Unless they make Tippu a villain in southern part of Karnataka , they cannot win over vakkalikas or the other part of hindus. That is why that they have been continuously trying to villianise Tippu Sulthan. For that matter in the last one year they have discovered Urigowda and Nenjegowda  who according to them are the warriors of vakkalikas who killed Tippu to take revenge against his anti – hindu policies. Nobody bought that , but they are going to push that. And they are actually electing huge statues of Basvanna and Kempe gowda only to mobilise the people on caste wise and also hindutvalise their caste identities. It is not that they are not succesful.

If you see the vote share of BJP in fact 1957 election they got 2 percent vote share and 1967 election, they got 4 seats also. They got 4 percent vote and 4 seats first time in the history of Karnataka. Later on in 1989 election, their vote share has been consistantly increasing. It was 7% , 14 %, 20%, 24%, 33% and in the last election in 2018, ut is 36% . It only means , they are holding on to their original vote base and extending their influence. So this is a bigger problem. Because the question of secularisation of the state of Karnataka society is not just a electoral question. In the question of election, in the first pass the post system many miracles happened. If it is a trianglur contest for that matter , it doesnt mean that u need to get some 52 percent vote share , more than 50 percent vote share . In the triangular contest if you win even a 30% percent vote share , you can be a victorious candidate . But what is the increase of the vote share , whether it is consistant, there is a marker to understand the social influence of the BJP and hindutva over the poeple. That has been the case . That is most problamatic and that does not have a electoral solution. In fact , this hegemony is on the other parties also.

To give an example, when they had a continuos campaign against Tippu Sulthan making him a villain , in fact very recently an express train running between Mysore and Bangalore which was named Tippu , they have renamed it as Wodeyar express . They want to actually completely erase the memory of Tippu Sulthan. Not to retain him as a villain of the people . In fact when Bharath Jodo pass through Karnataka , Rahul Gandhi and his whole band  stayed for three days . They had the vacation of three days. Non of the Congress leaders were dare enough to visit the place where Tippu was murdered.  It was only because they did not wanted to be construed as the people who make muslim appeasement. So this hegemony, hindutva’s hegemony is obvious for other parties also. Unless this hegemony is faught over by consistantly clinging on to the secular principles, the hindutva cannot be defeated socially and politically. Unless you dont defeat them socially and politically , you cannot defeat them eloctorily also. Because, they are building not only a hindu vote bank, they are building the hindutva vote bank.

So  when there is a hindutva vote bank, a hindutva vote bank will only vote for the hindu rashtr. And if any party comes to power , they cannot go against this unless they build a democratic vote bank. Not vote bank , democratic siligent  . I think non of the opposition party has that longer vision. Not only in Karnataka, in all over the country. So the larger that is, it can only come from the peoples movement. Because it has a ideological agenda. BJP and RSS has a ideological agenda, political agenda and social agenda. They are available to the people . If fact the subaltern hindutva the influence of the hindutva over the shuddras and dalits, that is also increasing. Because there is a resentement  of the subaltern people agaisnt the elitist culture of the congress and their opposition parties. Now even the BJP leaders are elitist. But they have  bajrangdal, they  have the youth wing of the RSS which will work as a bridge between them. They will also catter to the aspirational needs to the estrata of the OBC sanghi dalits.

This is the social engeneering that they are planning meticulously, to divide the original caste conservation that has been evolved by the other two parties. So for that, to defeat that social engineering, to defeat them politically, the other political parties need to have an ideological vision, an organisational strength. A social, cultural, political programme on which people will be mobilised continuously. But the other parties presence will be felt only in the time of elections where as the presence of BJP is 24/7 and all of their ideas. So now whether this election will bring in congress is something which is not very important. Even then you can safely say that the electoral outcome will be opposite of what happened in 2018. In 2018, the BJP party got 104 seat out of 224 seat simply . In which You have to get 130/ 113 to form the governement . BJP got 104 seats but it had only 36% vote share.

Congress got 38% vote share but got only 80 seats. In this election, the all possible way in the worse scenario also , congress will improve its performance. In fact congress may come nearer to the majority mark also. But , as Sid Ramayya puts it , whether simple majority is different from safe majority , because in the last five years , it is not enough if you get a simple majority. You should get a safe majority, which means even if they poach some 30 to 20 MLA from your camp you should be in a position to retain your majority. That means in an assembly which has 224 seats , it is not sufficient to get 113 seats, you should get atleast 140 or 150 seats to have a safe majority. To get a safe majority , you should actually get the vote share of minimum 45 to 50 percent . In the last election they had 38 percent vote share , that means they should atleast get 12 percent more vote share. But on ground level you dont find such a  vote swing from any segments of the people , there is a dissatisfaction about the governemnet , but that is not in a format of a wave, which will sweep the incumbent government. And there will be a big difference between BJP and Congress. That is the present trading . And you have the last two days’ magic. Basically there is money power , Modi power , which the other opposition parties lack. Inspite of that , the BJP may lose but still form the government. That is the irony of the Indian politics. Have to see. Lets see what is going to happen.

Shivsundar is a political commentator

Prepared by Fathimathu Shana

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