Hyderabad: With issues like, identity politics, nationalist agenda, coming handy for Siddaramaiah, he is likely to give BJP a run for its money in Karnataka in the ensuing assembly elections. Although having a low profile with the Congress at the national level, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah seems to be beating the BJP at its own game.
On the other hand BJP is struggling to get a grip on its crankshaft in the poll-bound state. While the BJP is trying to grab every opportunity to discomfit the state government, the moves are boomeranging on the party. As happened in the case of raids against energy minister DK Shivakumar, whose properties were raided by income tax authorities in early August. As claimed by Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga leader, “The raids helped my voters reiterate their trust in me. Now the whole state knows I’m clean as they couldn’t find any clinching evidence against me.”
Amit Shah, during his three-day visit to the state, is learnt to have been incensed over the leadership’s failure to organise itself and use the ‘opportunities’ provided by the Centre to consolidate the party. The open feud between BS Yeddyurappa and KS Eshwarappa has worsened the matter.
‘Nationalist agenda’ has become a hot potato for the BJP as it has forced the party to stay neutral on boiling issues like the state flag and Lingayats’ status. Neither it can remain indifferent on the issue of Lingayats as it is Karnataka’s most influential community constituting 17% of the population and capable of economically and numerically shifting political equations. Lingayats form the biggest voter base for BJP in Karnataka, and this development has left its leaders in a panic.
Ironically Yeddyurappa, a prominent Lingayat leader himself finds himself at crossroads. He was caught in an embarrassing situation when he and his party criticised the Lingayat issue, Congress grabbed the opportunity and began circulating the letter Yeddyurappa had written to then-prime minister Manmohan Singh in the past, seeking separate religion status for the Lingayat dharma.
While the BJP is struggling to set its foot in Karnataka, Union human resource development Minister Prakash Javadekar has been named the election in-charge for Karnataka, with RSS functionary BL Santhosh overseeing matters. It is an open secret that Santhosh and Yeddyurappa dislike each other.
Strategy which worked for BJP to rise to power nationally doesn’t seem to work in Karnataka, which often bucks the national trend.
Amit Shah’s visit to Adichunchanagiri Mutt and also raised hue and cry. Pictures of him sitting in an ‘improper’ manner before Sri Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji also went viral which went against the party.
Amidst Congress-BJP tussle, Prithvi Reddy, state in-charge of the Aam Aadmi Party, feels it is high time the state had a political alternative.
However road to success is not so smooth for Congress either, as both the parties are faction-ridden. Moreover Siddaramaiah, though having longstanding experience with administration and being sharp and focused, has not created a niche for himself. However he has armed his party with a strategy for April 2018. But it remains to be seen will this help deliver the results or will the BJP pull off yet another coup?