The party is keen on catching the saffron wave in the north
(Shankar Raj, Bengaluru)
Bengaluru: With the big win in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP think tank is toying with the idea of advancing the Assembly elections in Karnataka which is due early 2023. And the party has already started work in the state. The plan is no-brainer with Karnataka photo-copying the strategies of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, especially in consolidating the Hindu votes.
And with the Congress – the only main Opposition party in Karnataka — in disarray in Delhi, the BJP plans to strike when the iron is hot.
YOGI OF KARNATAKA
What is worth noting is that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has already emerged as the ‘Yogi of the Karnataka’ by doling out largesse to the Hindu community. He gave a huge push to the Hindutva agenda by giving dollops of aid to Hindu temples, providing protection to cows and cash assistance to pilgrims in the state budget.
In his recent maiden budget, Bommai proposed to free Hindu temples from government control, open new goshalas, develop Anjanadri Betta in Koppal district – believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman — and provide cash assistance for pilgrims undertaking the Kashi Yatra.
All this came after the passage of the anti-conversion bill, which prohibits conversion of one’s religion by ‘misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage’.
Bommai also sought to reach out to Hindutva groups by announcing 69 new goshalas at a cost of Rs 50 crore, besides announcing a scheme for the adoption of cows in goshalas. Widening his love for the ‘holy animal’, he also announced a plan for private participation to conserve cows.
All this is aimed at consolidating the Hindu votes.
When Bommai took over from BS Yediyurappa as chief minister, eyebrows were raised in the party as he did not have an RSS background. He was more seen as a socialist with considerable administrative experience. But in just about six months of being the CM, he has proved everyone wrong by demonstrating his commitment to Hindutva.
While pushing the Hindutva agenda, Bommai has also promised to make Karnataka ‘Congress Mukth’.
“The next state which is going to become Congress-mukth is Karnataka. The Congress is sinking and the place where it is going to sink further is Karnataka,’’ he said after the election results of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur were being announced.
The results will have a “positive impact” on the BJP in Karnataka as this will boost the morale of party workers and the BJP will emerge stronger, he said.
But one weak spot is corruption, which Bommai may find difficult to root out unless he decides to use an iron fist. (Author is a senior journalist from Bengaluru)