India News Karnataka Politics

Rumours of CM change rattle Karnataka BJP

He said that the leadership change has been carried out before by the high command even though there is only a short time left for the assembly elections…reports Asian Lite News

The ruling BJP in Karnataka is in damage control mode following rumours of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai being replaced. The BJP which is yet to recover from the wrath of party workers and Hindu activists following the murder of Praveen Kumar Nettare, a BJP Yuva Morcha member, now has the task of clarifying over the leadership issue when assembly elections are just 8 months away.

Sources in the BJP stated that the issue cropped up with the statement of Suresh Gowda, former MLA from Tumakuru constituency. Gowda, known as the blue eyed boy of Union Minister for State Shobha Karandlaje from Karnataka hinted that there could be changes in the leadership before August 15.

He said that the leadership change has been carried out before by the high command even though there is only a short time left for the assembly elections.

Following this, the opposition Congress which has gained momentum after the massive birthday bash of Siddaramaiah organised by the party, hit out at the Karnataka BJP over the leadership change issue.

The Congress on its social media handle stated that Karnataka will see its third CM soon as it had seen in the previous tenure of the BJP government. It said that senior leaders and cabinet members have chosen to be tight-lipped after the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Bengaluru recently for the same reason.

Sources in the BJP revealed that Bommai does not enjoy the support he once used to. Amit Shah had declared that the assembly elections would be fought under the leadership of Bommai to the chagrin of many CM aspirants.

It is an open secret here that many hardcore Hindutva proponents within the party dislike Bommai and want a change in leadership. However, the high command is treading cautiously over the issue, sources said.

Former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa stated on Wednesday that there are rumours that there will be changes in the CM’s post. Such a question does not arise. Basavaraj Bommai will continue as CM for another 8 months, he clarified.

Minister for Revenue R Ashok said that Bommai will be the face of the saffron party going into the assembly elections. “If you (Congress) have the capacity declare the CM candidate before elections,” he said.

BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel also backed Basavaraj Bommai and stated that he would be the CM till the end of his tenure and there is no question of a change in leadership.

Sources in the BJP stated that anything can happen as Yediyurappa is fully focused on launching his son B Y Vijayendra. The high command is totally focused on winning the assembly elections on a Hindutva plank.

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Tough road ahead for dumped BJP in Bihar

BJP has Saptrishis and Panna Pramukh which work at booth levels. The new government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar is likely to target those workers…reports Asian Lite News

With Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav taking oaths as chief minister and deputy chief minister of Bihar on Wednesday, the going for BJP will sure not be smooth in the state.

Soon after the JD(U)-BJP split, a police official pasted “former” against the name plate of deputy chief minister Tar Kishore Prasad.

According to sources, the new government will go hard on BJP leaders and workers if they caught on the wrong sie of the law.

The primary objective of the new Nitish Kumar government is to destroy the structural organisation of BJP and RSS in Bihar, they added.

Kumar may give Tejashwi Yadav a charge to carry out a “surgical strike” on BJP and RSS sympathisers. If they were involved in any communal activities, strong action can be expected in a bid to weaken the structures of the saffron brigade.

BJP has Saptrishis and Panna Pramukh which work at booth levels. The new government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar is likely to target those workers.

JD-U has already levelled serious allegations against the BJP that it was involved in weakening the structure of former. Now, it is the right time to weaken the BJP and RSS in Bihar like Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee did in West Bengal ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

BJP is already being criticised for price rise of essential commodities, apart from unemployment, terrorism, national security etc. It is also facing anti-incumbency sentiments across the country and Nitish Kumar, who is considered as having one of the sharpest political brains in the country, knew what would be the ideal time to take the position of his party.

Sources have said that BJP is aiming for “Opposition Mukt Bharat” in the country. Now, the opposition leaders are doing just the opposite and alienating BJP.

Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday said that BJP has no alliance partners in North India except Uttar Pradesh where extremely smaller parties are in alliance with it.

BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal has decided to stage a dharna outside the party office. He has also asked leaders of his party to do the same at district, block and Panchayat level.

Notably this time, the BJP has not taken an agressive stance after losing the government in Bihar. The ED, CBI, Income Tax effect are not being used by the central leadership as the JD(U) only hinted about the proof (Telephonic audio conversation) it has to expose the saffron leaders.

In case BJP uses the central agencies against Nitish Kumar or the leaders of Mahagathbandhan, he would use those proofs to ruin the image of BJP leaders. That may severely hit the preparation of BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

During the tenure of JD(U)-BJP government in Bihar, scandals like Srijan scam, Muzaffarpur shelter home case and others took place which are with CBI.

Nitish Kumar has also raked up some of the corruption cases against BJP ministers like Ram Surat Rai, who is facing charges of transfer-posting scam in the land reforms and revenue ministry , which he was owning during the JD-U-BJP combined government. Tar Kishore Prasad, the former chief minister of Bihar is also facing the charges of scam in the “Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal” programme when he was involved in allotting some contracts to his family members and relatives.

ALSO READ-Top BJP leaders summoned to Delhi

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Top BJP leaders summoned to Delhi

However, the reason does not seem to be very strong given other political parties are doing the same exercise in Patna on Tuesday…reports Asian Lite News

Amid political rumbling in Bihar, the BJP’s central leadership has called the top leaders in Delhi to assess the situation and formulate the plan of action.

BJP leaders like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain, Nitin Navin, Satish Chandra Dubey are on the way to Delhi.

The development comes in wake of other political parties of the state including the ruling Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress, HAM and left parties calling separate meetings on Tuesday.

JD-U national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh confirms that his party has called all MLAs, MLCs and MPs to be present in the meeting on Tuesday. Through, he said that a meeting was called to discuss the future course of action after the situation arises due to the exit of R.C.P. Singh.

However, the reason does not seem to be very strong given other political parties are doing the same exercise in Patna on Tuesday.

The BJP, however, said that there was nothing untoward.

Its state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal said: “Every party holds meetings of its legislators and there was nothing unusual in it. We did the same on July 31. At present, the NDA government is running smoothly under the leadership of Nitish Kumar in Bihar.”

State JD-U President Umesh Kushawaha also said: “The government is running smoothly under the leadership of Nitish Kumar in Bihar. We have no difference with BJP at the moment.”

This, however, seems to be having a resonance with the situation to 2017 when JD-U leaders were claiming that all is well with the Mahagathbandhan (with the RJD and the Congress), till the very last moment. Then Nitish Kumar went to Raj Bhawan and gave his resignation as the Chief Minister of Bihar. He also recommended that the Governor dissolve the Assembly. However this time, the situation has changed and Nitish Kumar would recommend to the Governor to sack particular ministers from his cabinet.

A JD-U insider believes that there are so many reasons for souring the relationship between his party and the BJP. One of the reasons is the statement of BJP chief J.P. Nadda who said on July 31 that he wants to wipe out every regional party from the country. His target was the RJD, JD-U, the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray group), the Shiromani Akali Dal, Dusyant Chautala’s party JJP etc. That may have triggered the JD-U to consider snapping the alliance with the BJP. Also the BJP’s ‘Prawas’ programme in 200 Assembly constituencies was seen as a threat to the JD-U.

ALSO READ-BJP to fight Bihar polls with present alliance: Arun Singh

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BJP to fight Bihar polls with present alliance: Arun Singh

The BJP announced the election campaign for 2024 Lok Sabha from the soil of Bihar with the motive to make Narendra Modi Prime Minister for the third time…reports Asian Lite News

The BJP will contest 2024 Lok Sabha election and 2025 Assembly elections with its present alliance partners in Bihar, party General Secretary Arun Singh said on Sunday.

“BJP respects its alliance partners. Hence, it will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election with the same alliance in Bihar. Even, the 2025 Vidhan Sabha election will be also contested in similar fashion,” Singh said during the interaction with media persons after the end of two-day Joint National Executive Meeting (JNEM) of the party here.

The BJP announced the election campaign for 2024 Lok Sabha from the soil of Bihar with the motive to make Narendra Modi Prime Minister for the third time.

“During the inaugural session of JNEM, national President J.P. Nadda asked BJP leaders to reach at every booth of the state and add people of every caste and community,” Singh said.

During the Prawas programme in 200 Assembly constituencies of Bihar, party leaders will seek to make common people aware about the work done by the seven wings of BJP frontal organisations in the country, he said.

“This was an important development which was discussed during the two day meeting. Besides, we also discussed about how we respect Dalit, marginalised, and tribal communities in the past and will do in future. The BJP workers also took the oath to host tricolour flags at every house and also respect the freedom fighters of the country under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav programme,” Singh said.

“We have also decided to publicly listen to Man Ki Baat of PM Narendra Modi at every booth and the party leaders will execute it,” he added.

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BJP tops donation rankings of 2020-21

The Congress was at second position with a donation of Rs 74.52 crore…reports Asian Lite News

The BJP has topped the list of political parties receiving maximum donations for Financial Year 2020-21. The total donations declared by the national parties for FY 2020-21 was Rs 593.74 crore from 3,753 donations while the ruling BJP has declared donations amounting to Rs 477.54 crore from 2,206 donations.

A report released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) disclosed that the donations declared by BJP are more than four times the aggregate declared by Congress, NCP, CPI, CPM, NPEP and AITC for the same period.

The Congress was at second position with a donation of Rs 74.52 crore from 1,077 donations while BSP declared that the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2020-21.

The report said that the total donations of the national parties during FY 2020-21 decreased by Rs 420.65 crore, a decrease of 41.49 per cent from the previous financial year 2019-20.

So far, as political parties are concerned, donations to BJP decreased from Rs 785.77 crore during FY 2019-20 to Rs 477.54 crore during FY 2020-21 (39.23 per cent decrease).

The Congress party’s donations also registered a decline from Rs 139.01 crore during FY 2019-20 to Rs 74.52 crore during FY 2020-21 (46.39 per cent decrease).

In a comparison of the previous year, the decrease in donations declared by AITC was 94.74 per cent (Rs 7.65 crore), NCP – 56.19 per cent (Rs 33.68 crore) and CPI-M – 34.49 per cent (Rs 6.79 crore).

The report showed that a total of Rs 246.50 crore was donated to the national parties from Delhi, followed by Rs 71.68 crore from Maharashtra and Rs 47.07 crore from Gujarat.

The ADR report further said that 1,398 donations to the national parties were made by corporate or business sectors amounting to Rs 480.65 crore (80.95 per cent of total donations) while 2,258 individual donors donated Rs 111.65 crore (18.80 per cent of total donations) to the parties during FY 2020-21. It said that 1,111 donations from corporate or business sectors were made to BJP (Rs 416.794 crore) while 1,071 individual donors donated Rs 60.37 crore to the party during FY 2020-21.

Similarly, the Congress received a total of Rs 35.89 crore through 146 donations from corporate/business sectors and Rs 38.63 crore through 931 individual donors during FY 2020-21.

As per the ADR report, BJP (Rs 416.794 crore) received more than six times the total amount (Rs 63.931 crore) of corporate donations declared by all other national parties for the FY 2020-21.

Ther report observed that NCP, AITC, CPM, NPEP, Congress , BJP and CPI submitted contribution reports after a delay of 10 days, 117 days, 136 days, 137 days, 161 days, 164 days and 178 days, respectively.

ALSO READ: BJP plans grand celebration for Murmu

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BJP plans grand celebration for Murmu

It is learnt that as per plan, victory will be celebrated in over one lakh tribal villages in the country…reports Asian Lite News

With eyes on tribal votes in the 2024 general elections, the BJP is planning a grand celebration for Draupadi Murmu if she wins the upcoming July 18 Presidential election.

As the victory of Murmu is certain, the BJP has started preparation to celebrate her victory on “becoming the first tribal woman president of the country”.

Sources said that preparation has started and direction has been issued in this regard for the grand celebration as there is no doubt on Murmu’s victory.

“Everyone in the party and country are confident about Murmu’s victory, and after that she becomes the first tribal woman President. Celebration will be organised across the country especially in tribal-dominated villages and areas,” sources said.

It is learnt that as per plan, victory will be celebrated in over one lakh tribal villages in the country.

“Victory celebrations will start after the official announcement of the Presidential poll result on July 21. Celebration will be held at mandal (block) level in tribal areas and only posters of Murmu will be used,” party sources said.

The party is also planning small rallies in tribal areas after the presidential election, to cover all villages and gram panchayats dominated by the community.

During BJP’s National Executive Committee meeting held earlier this month in Hyderabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded NDA’s President candidate Murmu and said that her candidature stands over and above any politics.

Prime Minister Modi asked the party cadre to highlight about struggle and simplicity of Murmu’s life among people.

A senior functionary said that by nominating her as a NDA candidate, the party leadership has already sent a message that after making inroads among all the sections of society, now the BJP leadership has decided to make inroads among the tribal communities across the country.

The saffron party is hoping to reach out to tribal communities across the country ahead of next Lok Sabha polls and in this year’s assembly polls in Gujarat, and next year’s state polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

A functionary noted that it is a strategic move with eye on 2024 Lok Sabha polls as there are 47 reserved Scheduled Tribes (ST) constituencies.

“Murmu becoming president of India, will definitely benefit the party in upcoming assembly polls and parliament elections,” he said.

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Lashkar terrorist caught, was Jammu BJP’s social media in-charge

On Monday, the police said more recoveries were made by the Reasi Police on the disclosure of Talib Hussain from a hideout at Draj in Rajouri district…reports Asian Lite News

A wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist captured in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday was an active member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was also the party’s Minority Morcha social media in-charge in Jammu, it was reported.            

A huge cache of arms and ammunition have been recovered by the police after the disclosures made by Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Talib Hussain, who was caught by the villagers of Tukson Dhok village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district along with his accomplice, officials said on Monday.

The two terrorists were overpowered by the villagers and then handed over to the police on Sunday. While Talib Hussain hails from Rajouri, the other terrorist was identified as Faisal Ahmed Dar from Pulwama, Kashmir. Two AK rifles, seven grenades, a pistol and a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered from their possession.

On Monday, the police said more recoveries were made by the Reasi Police on the disclosure of Talib Hussain from a hideout at Draj in Rajouri district.

“Six sticky bombs, one pistol, three pistol magazines, two glock pistol and one 30 bore pistol, one UBGL launcher, three UBGL grenades, 75 AK rounds, 15 rounds glock pistol, four rounds pistol, 30 bore and one IED remote with Antenna were recovered from the hideout,” police said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday announced a reward of Rs five lakh for the villagers while Director General Police Dilbag Singh has announced a reward of Rs two lakh for them.

An official statement said, “Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha today announced Rs 5 lakh cash reward to villagers of Tukson Dhok, Reasi for displaying great courage and bravery in apprehending two most wanted terrorists.

“I salute the bravery of villagers of Tukson Dhok, Reasi, who apprehended two most wanted terrorists. Such determination by common man shows end of terrorism is not far away. UT Government to extend Rs 5 lakh cash reward to villagers for gallant act against terrorists and terrorism,” said the Lt Governor.

The statement added that the villagers of Tukson Dhok showed extreme courage in apprehending two most wanted terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Karnataka: Oppn unity could make it hard for BJP’s Hindutva push

In Karnataka there is no wave for the BJP like it was during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress can easily win 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the next parliamentary elections, Sulibhavi explains…reports M.K. Ashoka

The ruling BJP is trying hard to make Karnataka its bastion through an aggressive Hindutva agenda and repeat the success that the party achieved in the last Lok Sabha elections.

The state has 28 Lok Sabha constituencies and the BJP swept 25 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls. The wave was such that former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda suffered a humiliating defeat against the BJP candidate in Tumakuru, which is considered as the turf of regional party JD (S).

However, the trend this time seems to be otherwise. Though the BJP seems to be well placed, the Congress is also looking good under the leadership of Siddaramaiah and D.K. Shivakumar. If these leaders bury their differences and put up a united fight, the BJP will have serious problems. The sidelining of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in the party could also prove a setback for the BJP in the state as well as Lok Sabha elections, say party insiders.

Activist Basavaraj Sulibhavi told that it is the inside politics of the Congress and other parties which make them lose to the BJP. The opposition is yet to form a common agenda to come together against the BJP.

In Karnataka there is no wave for the BJP like it was during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress can easily win 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the next parliamentary elections, Sulibhavi explains.

He opines that the combination of Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Congress president D.K. Shivakumar can work well against the BJP in the state. But there is the fear of infighting. The Congress lost its Kolar Lok Sabha seat due to insiders.

On the other hand the BJP is polarizing Hindu votes, launching ‘Operation Lotus’, using the central agencies to break alliances and bring down governments. It has done this in 7 to 8 states including Karnataka. The latest example is Maharashtra. Right now, the opposition bloc does not seem to be as formidable as the BJP-led NDA, he says.

The Aam Aadmi party (AAP) says that it will maintain a distance from the Congress and try to bring a new narrative into politics.

Prithvi Reddy, Karnataka Aam Aadmi Party president, told IANS that the AAP does not want to practice the politics of majority or minority. We don’t know vote bank politics. Our vote bank is different. The AAP is inclined to go with regional alliances at the national level rather than going with the Congress. Allying with the Congress will cause more harm to our people.

Talking about the Congress, he says that the party is living on its past glory. They are still talking about their leaders’ struggle for Independence, public sector industries they have built. There is a generation gap. It’s been 75 years since independence. The AAP is the only party which is going to the voters with a clear agenda and votes are being sought based on programmes.

The AAP is the only party which could tell the people that yes emotions are important, but not at the cost of livelihood. “To defeat a formidable force like the BJP, where all central government agencies are working for them, only ‘people’s court’ is left untouched,” he says.

He maintains that the BJP and Congress politics are the same. When you talk about corruption, for example Congress and JD (S) have failed to capitalize on the 40 per cent commission charges against the ruling BJP. The BJP in turn questions them whether they have not practiced corruption?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not delivered what he promised to the people and the nation. When elections are around the corner the BJP will come up with emotional issues. The AAP is there to change the narrative, he says.

Whether it is a Muslim or a Hindu, school fee and hospital fee are more important than emotional issues. The narrative has to be changed. We are not trying to beat the national parties at their game. In a survey, if not for PM Modi, who will be the next Prime Minister, 43 per cent named Arvind Kejriwal. So the question is whether PM Modi is beatable? We have beaten him in Delhi and Punjab. We know what it takes to beat PM Modi, Prithvi Reddy says.

In terms of organization and resources it is a challenge for the AAP. The BJP is failing on every front. In the corporate sector 8,000 wealthy people are leaving the country. The hardcore supporters of the BJP have given up on them. If you open your mouth, you will be finished by the BJP, he says.

An atmosphere of hate and fear is there in the country. Our enemies Pakistan and China who are trying to finish off India as a country are taking advantage of this. The BJP is also finishing off India, he says.

Media personality Asha Krishnaswamy, talking to IANS stated that the Opposition parties have continued with a common agenda from 2014 to date — whip Narendra Modi.

“In the elections held since 2014, this opposition agenda has not worked. There are no broader narratives other than targeting Modi for his every move and decision.

“Be it demonetisation, the Covid-19 pandemic induced human misery, or the farm bills and their repercussions, the Prime Minister was at the receiving end. However, voters’ resentment was not reflected in the elections. Even then, the tactics of the opposition have not changed,” Asha Krishnaswamy says.

She adds that the opposition is divided and their moves are haphazard. They are not matching up to the skills and manipulative tactics of the BJP. While the Congress is rudderless, thanks to Sonia Gandhi et al., TRS leader K Chandrashekar Rao’s solo journey, at the most, may end up in disruptive politics.

Sharad Pawar of the NCP may take some time to recover from the Shinde-Fadnavis jolt. Many opposition leaders have surrendered to the BJP, she added.

“A vibrant democracy requires strong opposition parties. I wish to see such a political environment where constructive criticism and narratives are heard,” Krishnaswamy stated.

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Thackeray sacks Shinde as ‘Shiv Sena Leader’

On anticipated lines, the Shiv Sena ‘removed’ the new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as a ‘Shiv Sena Leader’ for indulging in ‘anti-party’ activities, the party confirmed here on Saturday.

In a terse letter to Shinde on Thursday, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who quit as Chief Minister on June 29, said: “You have been indulging in anti-party activities and have voluntarily given up your membership of Shiv Sena.”

Accordingly, in exercise of the powers vested in him as the ‘Shivsena Paksha Pramukha’, Thackeray said he has removed Shinde as a Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation.

The party’s mouthpiece, ‘Saamana’ Group of publications have highlighted and confirmed the development in their editions on Saturday amid speculation it could trigger a bigger struggle to control the 56-year-old party and its assets.

There are 11 Shiv Sena leaders in the top party hierarchy who plan out major policy decisions giving a direction to the party, and the move was taken as per certain precedents.

The possibility of a similar fate awaiting the other 39 MLAs who joined the Shinde-led rebellion on June 20, is not ruled out, after it created an unprecedented political crisis in the state and led to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Thursday.

On Friday, Thackeray dismissively said that a person who ‘sidelined’ the Sena could not be called a ‘Shiv Sena Chief Minister’, as contended by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and the rebels group, though Shinde’s supporters are unfazed.

Uddhav Thackeray

While Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister on June 29 after 31 months in power, the Sena ‘rebel’ Shinde was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as the surprise Deputy Chief Minister on Thursday.

The new government has been ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to seek a ‘vote of confidence’ in a Special Legislative Assembly session to be held on July 3-4.

ALSO READ: Shinde takes oath as Maharashtra CM

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From hijab to halal, BJP divides to continue its rule in K’taka

The moves are being seen as a calculated strategy by the BJP to retain power here. But for party supporters, Hindutva is synonymous with nationalism….writes Narendra Puppala

With Karnataka due for Assembly elections next year, the political scene at ground zero is beginning to heat up. While development is usually part of the discourse in electoral politics, in Karnataka the focus has lately been on the growing religious divide. From Hijab to halal and text book revisions, the state has witnessed a series of flashpoints over the last few months.

The moves are being seen as a calculated strategy by the BJP to retain power here. But for party supporters, Hindutva is synonymous with nationalism.

M.P. Renukacharya, BJP MLA from Honnali in Davanagere district says that “those who oppose BJP including litterateurs should understand that they are living in a Hindu country. This is not Pakistan. Hindus in Pakistan and Bangaldesh are not given so much of freedom. Here everyone is respected.”

For the ruling BJP, the stakes are particularly high. For starters, Karnataka is the only state down south where BJP has a strong presence. Secondly, as a major economic player due to the presence of IT majors and startups, retaining power in Karnataka would add heft to BJP in the corporate sector and internationally as well.

On the other hand, the opposition Congress party has been making all out efforts to wrest back Karnataka. Until a couple of decades ago, the state was a Congress bastion. Initially, it was the Janata Pariwar that broke the Congress hold on Karnataka.

But from mid-90 onwards, BJP slowly spread its footprint over the state and today stands poised as the pre-eminent political party in the state. In recent times, elections in Karnataka have shaped into a three-cornered affair between the BJP, Congress, and Janata Dal (Secular) headed by former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda.

Observers note that growing communal faultlines are largely responsible for the rising fortunes of the BJP in Karnataka. They point to the recent surge in activities by Hindu groups which are usually tacitly or overtly supported by Karnataka’s ruling party. However, the BJP’s opponents feel that the Hindutva card is merely a diversion.

C.S. Dwarakanath, Chairman Social Justice Cell, Karnataka Congress says: “People have known that Hindutva is an illusion. The gimmicks such as the nomination of tribal candidate for the Presidential elections won’t workout. Backwards, Dalits and tribals are asking what BJP’s programme is for them.”

Unfortunately for the Congress, a weak Central command and multiple power centres in Karnataka make its task of regaining power that much harder. Knowing that it cannot match the BJP’s aggressive brand of Hindutva with its soft Hindutva, Congress is trying hard to lure the minority vote banks back. But it’s been an uphill task so far.

With BJP standing out as the largest party in Karnataka assembly, it’s clear that BJP has benefited from its aggressive posturing. However, it knows it cannot rely on religious identification alone to win elections. With Karnataka’s capital city Bengaluru, also known as India’s silicon valley, is always in international focus, BJP cannot afford too much negative publicity from growing communal tensions. This is where the development card comes in handy for BJP.

In quite a few ways, Karnataka is turning out to be BJP’s Gujarat of the south. Party insiders confide that combining political and development agendas like it did in Gujarat over the last few decades, the BJP can continue to rule Karnataka and use it as a base to spread further south in the next few years. Political observers opine that in the days and months ahead, the ruling BJP will increasingly resort to a twin strategy comprising development and Hindutva.

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