Thursday, April 7, 2022

Karnataka in Crossroads

Sarva Janangada Shantiya Thota, Peaceful Garden of all Religions is how Karnataka is described by one of the greatest poet Kuvempu in a poem which was declared as State Song in 2004.
Karnataka’s tourism tagline, One State Many Worlds truly reflecting State’s unique Diversity from Bidar to Kodagu and Ballari to Karwar not only geographically but also socially, culturally and politically. Education Hub, State of PSUs and a Peaceful State is how Karnataka has always been known, Bengaluru the Capital City is a Global name for its IT Industry, ‘Bangalored’ is a word that was coined to describe Bengaluru as the Back Office of the World.
Pre-British and the British history of Karnataka not only reflects the peaceful co-existence of various religions but also has documented as highly Progressive and Liberal region. Politically Karnataka has been in the forefront leading agenda for the entire Nation on Development and Social Welfare. After thousands of years of co-existence of various communities today Karnataka is being challenged, Hijab to Halal to Azaan the aggressive Hindutva Politics that has made strong inroads in the coastal areas is shaking the belief of the State Song.
Karnataka is considered as a gateway to Hindutva Politics in South of India, even though BJP formed the Government more than once and gave maximum seats to BJP in the Lok Sabha elections the Secular fabric of the State has remained intact that has indeed stalled the Hindutva Politics reaching down South.
Declaring Harsha, a known criminal who was killed due to personal reasons as a martyr and linking every unfortunate incident to Hindu – Muslim conflict is hurting Brand Karnataka more than ever. IT Industry and MNCs that made Karnataka its prime center of operations always viewed Karnataka not only politically stable but as a pro-business State, but the raising communal narrative of Hindutva Politics is ringing alarm bells in the corporate world too. What is worrisome is that the communal hate is not limited to the Hindutva propaganda fringe groups, Ministers, Sr Leaders and Office Bearers of BJP are now speaking the language of the fringe blurring the lines between the fringe and mainstream statements.
Current BJP Government is one of the most corrupt and incompetent Government in the history of the State. Over 46000 children have not returned to school’s post COVID, malnutrition is the highest in comparison for the last 10 years, raising unemployment rate, environment degradation, crumbling infrastructure, price rise, Farmer distress, increasing violence, corruption, 40% commission allegations, poverty, subverting of the Constitution, passing of the laws/bills without debates and discussions are surely indicators of failing Administration. Yet the hate filled communal agenda of Hindutva Polities is propagated 24/7 through various media platforms over shadowing the real issues of common people of the State.
Extreme polarization has worked well for BJP, even at the peak of serious issues that hurt the common people and the youth of the Nation, the 80:20 slogan worked in favor of BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Karnataka will be going for Election in May 2023, there are elections in few other States in 2022 and BJP will ensure they will leave no polarization stone unturned even here.
So far people of Karnataka have reacted sharply against the polarization tactics of BJP, but what lies ahead only time will tell. Lack of a strong narrative by the opposition in Karnataka is definitely helping the Hindutva Politics to spread disharmony at ease. If it smells mud, it means rains have arrived, if it smells Tar, it means elections have arrived, and if it smells burn it means polarization is complete.
Only hope is that peace loving people of Karnataka will not be fall for the Hate spreading project of Hindutva Politics.
Kavitha Reddy
Activist, AICC Member & KPCC Spokesperson
(views expressed are in personal capacity)