Can communal politics work in Karnataka or will it be on the margins?

The ability of the right wing bandwagon to polarize the whole of Karnataka on communal lines is in doubt.

Written by Johnson T A | Published: January 11, 2018 2:04 pm
karnataka elections, bjp, sangh parivar, hindutva, communal clashes, karnataka assembly polls, dakshina kannada, indian express The ability of the right wing bandwagon to polarize the whole of Karnataka on communal lines is however in doubt. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal/Files)

Often during discourses on politics in Karnataka, the coastal regions of the state, especially the district of Dakshina Kannada, are referred to as laboratories for hardline Hindutva. It is believed that political experiments in dividing society along communal lines for electoral gains are conducted here by the BJP and Sangh Parivar before replication in other parts of the state. Violent campaigns against social relationships between Hindus and minority communities, faux protection of Hindu culture against western influence have all had their teething in coastal Karnataka, over the years.

The Hindutva agenda laid down in the combustible coastal regions since the early 1990s has however never really fired the imagination of the rest of Karnataka which is more impoverished and also more laid back

Even in 2008 when the BJP first came to power on its own in Karnataka, and for the first time in southern India, it was not propelled into the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power in the state, by divisive politics. It was a strong sympathy wave for one man, B S Yeddyurappa, from the dominant Lingayat community, who many felt had been wronged when he was denied the chance to be chief minister by a coalition partner.

Even while the BJP was in power in Karnataka, it pursued the Hindutva agenda only in spirit in the first few months when incidents of attacks on churches and pub-going women occurred in Dakshina Kannada. Eventually the BJP squandered the electoral inroads it made in Karnataka through a mix of severe infighting and corruption.

Now, with Karnataka on the threshold of state elections, and the BJP led by leaders who have successfully deployed communal tactics in states like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the state is seeing an unprecedented number of communal incidents, especially in the coastal region.

A month ago, in December, incidents of communal violence occurred across three towns in Uttara Kannada district. Police who have investigated the origins and provocation, in the incidents in Honnavar, Kumta and Sirsi towns, believe that the incidents were engineered under false pretexts.

A BJP MP is under investigation for strategically inciting and funding the violence in Uttara Kannada. Another has been booked for inciting violence through social media.

In the first couple of weeks of the New Year the tension has shifted to Dakshina Kannada – where communal murders are common but with elections around the corner they are gaining political hues. The Sangh Parivar and its affiliates also seem keen to ratchet up incidents in the day to day lives of people by using issues like love jihad and protection of Hindu culture from western influence.

The ability of the right wing bandwagon to polarize the whole of Karnataka on communal lines is however in doubt.

Unlike the coastal parts, which has a lot of unemployed youth – despite a substantial number of people being well off on account of jobs in Arab countries — much of the rest of Karnataka is still agrarian, with existence often being hand to mouth. Here, politics based on development matter more than communal division.

Given the success it has enjoyed across the country with the Hindutva template the BJP seems to favour minority bashing or crying wolf over corruption under the Congress tenure as its main weapons.

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  1. Ryan:Hindu Terrorist Buster Ryan
    Jan 16, 2018 at 4:17 am
    Nuke Cowdungistan,kill all cow pee drinking,,cow dung eating,,stone worshipping,,Lingam (PRICK) worshipping hindu pagan pigs of cowdungistan.Destroy cowdungistan. LONG LIVE REPUBLIC OF KERALA!!
    1. Sajid Asm
      Jan 16, 2018 at 1:12 pm
      Please keep this trash in your mind and never propagate hate. It does not matter who you are but people must live with their skin. Enough of hate is already spewed by these Hindutva brigade and we are already fed up with their crap. No jobs for the youth, No investment coming our way even after BJP has adopted policy after policy of the Congress why? It is because of the hate they spew day and night that brings us all to a zero sum achievement because no peace means no progress. Business, needs peace and proper support to develop. BJP has tried has only thing up their sleeves and that is noise and no work.
      1. S
        Salim Khan
        Jan 17, 2018 at 9:20 am
        Such only divides the nation. Do not create enimity between the communities.
      2. arvind singh
        Jan 16, 2018 at 12:07 am
        Hey writer, how many rice bags you got for conversion and how much money you received for writing such tty article.
        1. IG Adee
          Jan 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm
          I don't get it. A dynastic Congress is progressive, a castist Congress which fought on caste division in Gujarat s progressive. A Congress which allows conversation and supports an Islamic preacher to spew venom on native religion is secular. There s a war going on, waged by d imperialistic Abhramic foreign religions on d native religion. We either accept it n fight or act like nothing is happening. BJPs anticonversion stance is what made these converts nervous and you see this article.
          1. Mahesh Joshi
            Jan 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm
            author is biased to the extent of not knowing the truth. There was only one pub attack till now. Maybe the lutyens and the sikular media is only projecting that. They fail to see the voilence in kerala and west bengal.
            1. sreenath pg
              Jan 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm
              The writer seems to be a Congress supporter or a Islamic jihad is. .when Congress celebrated Tipu jayanti. .who murdered, raped and converted laks of Hindus into Islam. doesnt the writer think it as communal. Everyday Hindu organisation workers are killed in karnataka by Jihadist and Congress are indirectly supporting creating fear.
              1. Sajid Asm
                Jan 16, 2018 at 4:33 pm
                Justification of destruction was also propagated by ISIS. They too had their own interpretations and justification for rape, beheading people. So, are the sanghis of India. They too do not listen the logical reasoning and wish to go lynching and with their favorite coined word like love jihad. Why? because they are just after justifying their crime. Not that they are sympathetic of the Hindus. By now, it is clear that the cow protection is not safe because just in UP the cows are looked upon by both the Muni l administration, the transport department, the traffic dept. as a menace and in order to get rid the cows are rounded up and let loose in the rural side where again the farmers do not want them either. because these unwanted animals are causing direct loses to the farmers. So, the holy cow has no where to go but curse the protectionism. And what does one think about love jihad. Does it alleviate any social problem. The answer is a big NO. two cases Raiger and hadiya.
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