By Tushar Singh
Political campaigning took a bitter turn in Karnataka months before the state assembly elections. BJP has released a 1:12-minute-long video accusing an unmentioned entity (referred to as “them”) of killing Hindus, and charging the Congress of “stealing the saffron colour”. The clip was first shared by the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP on January 12 and re-tweeted by the party’s national unit the following day.
The sarcastic narration in the video says as soon Yogi Adityanath reaches out to people, Congress leaders turn to Hindus, and steal ‘bhagwa’ (saffron flag of RSS). The video wraps up with saying, “Had you worked even a speck in the last five years, then the ‘Rajkunvar’ of Congress need not have been making recipes.”
Earlier, the social media wing of the Indian National Congress had released a parody video titled “Recipe for a Star BJP Campaigner”. The video mocked Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath who has been a star campaigner for the BJP in Gujarat and will be in Karnataka. The Congress in the video has called Yogi ‘a recipe for disaster’.
Ever since Yogi Adityanath has been active in Karnataka, conducting rallies, he has exchanged a war of words with his Karnataka counterpart K. Siddaramaiah. The battle became so bitter that while Mr Adityanath asked Mr Siddaramaiah why, despite being a Hindu, he doesn’t support a beef ban, Siddaramaiah said BJP and RSS workers are terrorists.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said that while “positive governance” and “anti-corruption” will remain the party’s key issues in the poll campaign, it will also “expose the Siddaramaiah government’s blatantly communal designs in not reining in radical organization such as the PFI (Popular Front of India) and its tacit understanding with such groups”.
Both PFI and BJP are spewing venom on each other and holding tall claims of communal violence by the fellow party. BJP has demanded a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI)—an Islamic organisation as it was accused of involvement in the recent murder of a Hindu worker, Deepak Rao in Surathkal. BJP has also accused PFI of killing 22 Hindutva workers, while the state home ministry of Karnataka says the figure is 10.
Why does it matter
Karnataka will be an indicator of the true picture of the national scene as it is a neutral state and essentially has changed governments regularly.
Karnataka election campaigning is a successor to the linguistic imperialism debate which saw protests in Bangalore to remove Hindi signage from Namma Metro. Karnataka will tell us whether the BJP, with its typical North Indian Brahmin Hindutva, be able to create its magic in South India as well or not. Since the Karnataka elections are not even a year before the National elections, it is quite natural for leaders to make provocative remarks in the heat of the moment.
What’s the outlook?
Given how the past few weeks panned out, and also taking into consideration how communal the Gujarat elections turned out to be along with Yogi Adityanath’s entry into Karnataka, it is difficult to imagine smooth upcoming electoral months in Karnataka. The online warfare has only aggravated the situation and made it a nation-wide issue, instead of a state-to-state issue. Brace yourselves for further mudslinging.
Featured Image Source: Flickr
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