The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had been hoping to recapture Karnataka State to help it over-run South India and complete its conquest of India in the coming years, received a crushing blow in the Karnataka elections.
‘India Today’ reported Saturday evening that the Congress had secured 137 seats, the BJP 63, the Janata Dal (Secular) 20. and others four, in the State Assembly of 224 members.
The BJP fought on communal grounds, fostering and sharpening the contradictions between the majority Hindus and the minority Muslims and Christians. It manufactured divisive issues like Halal food, hijab and Love Jihad to isolate and create hatred against the Muslims. In some places, Hindu extremist outfits barred Muslim traders from setting up shops in markets around Hindu temples during Hindu festivals.
The BJP government enacted a law to criminalize religious conversions. Goons of the BJP’s sister organizations like the Sri Rama Sene attacked Valentine’s Day celebrations in Christian areas to cow down the Christians.
As a final stroke it hyped the Congress party’s declaration that it would ban the Hindu communal outfit ‘Bajrang Dal’ to paint the Congress as a party wanting to ban the Hindu God Hanuman. The BJP unethically conflated an extremist and violent Hindu outfit like the Bajrang Dal with the God Hanuman. Bajrangbali is another name for Hanuman.
But all these issues and the hype about the invincibility of the BJP, its cadre base and its messianic leader Narendra Modi conveyed through a pliant media, failed to have an impact on the Karnataka voters whose concerns were elsewhere.
The Karnataka voters had in mind the derelict state of the State administration that had earned the epithet “40% government” from State contractors harassed for bribes. They were concerned about the non-delivery on the tall promises made by the BJP. Over-confident State level leaders backed by an even more over-confident Central leaders of the BJP kept doing what they wanted to do in the belief that the divided and leaderless Congress was no challenge.
Over confidence about its standing and abilities, coupled with disdain for the real issues troubling the voters, led to the crushing defeat.
The defeat in Karnataka will affect the BJP’s chances in the other Southern States Politics in these States are not grounded in communalism or religious differences even to the extent prevailing in Karnataka. They are a different kettle of fish.
But the BJP has been trying to stoke communal feelings in Telengana and Kerala. In Kerala, it wrongly portrayed the 1920 Muslim riots as anti-Hindu. It used a feature film “The Kerala Story” based on an alleged “large-scale” abduction of Kerala girls for the Islamic terror outfit ISIS to sow hatred for the Muslims. But this bid fell flat as the theme was far from reality.
The BJP is trying to enter Tamil Nadu not by sowing seeds of religious communalism but by attacking the concept of the “Dravida”. It is trying to portray the Dravida concept as a divisive, separatist and anti-national one, thereby de-legitimizing the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government.
The BJP government at the Centre is using the Tamil Nadu Governor R.N.Ravi (its appointee) to question the legitimacy of the DMK’s “Dravidian model of governance” based on communal harmony and social justice based on caste equality. Governor Ravi had publicly stated that there is nothing like the Dravidian model.
He had even criticized the naming of the State as “Tamil Nadu” because the term “Nadu” in his view, implied a separate country. He proposed the term “Tamilaham” instead. To the DMK and the Tamils at large, the name Tamil Nadu is just “Land of the Tamils”, nothing more.
Breaking time honored tradition Governor Ravi skipped portions of his speech in the State Assembly which the DMK government had written as per practice. The Governor’s plea was that he did not agree with the contents. He had also sat on bills sent to him for assent instead of sending them back for reconsideration as per practice. On being asked why he had sat on the bill, he arrogantly said that if he did not send them back it meant that he had not approved them.
The Indian national media, which is also known as the “lapdog” media is finding the loss of Karnataka difficult to stomach. It is trying to deny credit to the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi who it had been describing as a “Pappu” or a foolish person with no capabilities.
According the website “The Citizen” the Delhi-based media is busy showing the BJP’s victories in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls sidling the Karanataka election results.
“The controlled media anchors sat down to make a tasteless pudding of the Congress win by running Rahul Gandhi down, insisting his sister Priyanka was more popular, and claiming that the role of the State leaders was minimized by the party post-victory. All this and more when the Congress tally crossed the majority mark.”
“The poll results have demonstrated that the hate campaign of the BJP has not worked to sway the masses in Karnataka. That the fires of divisiveness and polarization have not spread across this important State, with the voters keeping their focus on price rise, unemployment and corruption. And the fact that the Congress party was able to show them the way this time after a long gap, has worked to its advantage.”
“Despite the media’s all-consuming focus on castes and communities, people have crossed the divides and voted for harmony and livelihood.”
Lingayats have stepped out of their traditional strongholds to embrace the Congress in larger numbers than ever before. The Scheduled Castes too have shown signs of switching sides – from the BJP to the Congress. The Vokkaligas seem to have been more predictable, keeping their loyalties reserved for the Janata Dal(S) and the Congress party and not succumbing to BJP lures.
“The South has voted against the BJP also because it is seen as a Hindi belt party, and against federalism that is very close to the ‘southern’ heart.”
“Unlike Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka was momentarily swayed with the politics of divisiveness and the strong party image that the BJP had created in the face of a weak and corrupt Congress and JD(S). But recent years of experience have taken it back into the federalism fold. There have been protests in Karnataka on the language issue as well, with the recent Nandini vs Amul dairy issue raising regional sentiments visibly,” The Citizen said.
“The Congress will need strong leadership, cohesiveness, and full support from the central organization of the party to govern Karnataka. It should ensure that the state votes positively for the party during the general elections. The BJP is a strong force in Karnataka and will work doubly hard to make it tough for the Congress government to function,” the websites cautions.