Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Karnataka BJP; Discontent, Dynasty, Caste, Narrative!

B S Yediyurappa fought against corruption, now his son will, BJP fought against dynasty politics, henceforth B S Yediyurappa’s son will!

Coronation of B Y Vijayendra as Karnataka state BJP chief has given rise to serious decent among the very vocal BJP Leaders of Karnataka, absence of Senior Leaders in the party office when B Y Vijayendra took charge indicated that all is not well in Karnataka BJP unit. C T Ravi from Vokkaliga community and National General Secretary who was defeated in the assembly elections was aspiring to be the state BJP chief, Basangouda Patil Yatnal the Lingayat strongman who always spoke against B S Yediyurappa and his family was eying the post of Leader of Opposition. Both these Leaders have been the favorites of the Hindutva brigade and have never left an opportunity to express their hyper nationalism, anti-minority stand and whipped emotions in the name of Hindutva.

The BJP High Command choice for its party chief in Karnataka not only nullifies their allegation of corruption or dynasty politics on Congress, it exposes BJP double speak and its inability to consider Leaders from Dalit or OBC communities to lead its state unit, and appointing R Ashoka a Vokkaliga (Gowda) as Leader of Opposition has led to more disgruntle voices on lack of representation of Dalit and OBC communities in Karnataka BJP unit.

Prime Minster Modi’s constant remarks and calling Congress anti-Dalit on every occasion seems baseless, inappropriate, and awkward for most, at least for Karnataka BJP, given that AICC President is a Dalit, the longest serving KPCC President is a Dalit and Congress in Karnataka has ensured inclusive representation of all communities in both in party and government.

While BJP High Command had an option of B Sriramalu, Arvind Limbavali, Kota Srinivas Poojary, Shobha Karandlaje (under woman quota) to head the state unit and Govind Karjol, Sunil Kumar for Leader of Opposition what made them choose a Lingayat and a Vokkaliga (Gowda) ratifies the deliberate effort to appease the two powerful communities and safe guard the vote bank for until Lok Shaba Elections in 2024. 

One can argue that BJP High Command has cornered itself by restricting the top posts to two powerful communities, alternate view is that both Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities are opposing the release of caste census vehemently and appointment B Y Vijayendra and R Ashoka can be seen as an opportunity to consolidate the votes of both communities based on how the release of caste census report plays out across the state. It seems like a gamble which could go horribly wrong if the much raked up hype against the release of caste census fizzles out and if OBC and Dalit communities welcome the report and favor the Congress in 2024 Lok Shaba Elections.

The infighting in the Karnataka BJP unit, lack of clarity and narrative on the release of caste census among the BJP’s OBC and Dalit Leaders, ethical bankruptcy on corruption and dynasty politics and most importantly a strong perception that BJP leaning towards forward-communities can further fade the already diminishing Modi wave.

Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Telangana are critical for BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Shaba Elections, as the stakes are not only high but BJP has yet again entered the assembly election naming its schemes as ‘Modi Guarantee’ and seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Modi.

Irrespective of who wins the assembly election in the 5 states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Telangana there will be a paradigm shift in the political calculations for the Lok Shaba Elections, even as BJP is speaking about Union Government framing the rules for the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by March 2024 thereby trying its best to keep the emotive anti-minority narrative alive.

With both external and internal factors playing out, most Leaders in Karnataka BJP are in a catch 22 situation, only time will tell if the urge to defeat B Y Vijayendra Leadership is stronger than fighting the elections to give Prime Minister Modi another term.

Kavitha Reddy

KPCC General Secretary (views are personal)