The assembly election in Karnataka is around the corner. Amit Shah, the president of BJP, inaugurated Parivathana (“transformation”) rally, a campaign for the upcoming election in 2018, in Bengaluru on 3 November. Shah, while addressing the gathering, said, “This parivarthana (transformation) rally is not to change the CM [Chief Minister], not to change the government, not to change the legislators. This is to change the state of Karnataka.” The rally is expected to cover 224 constituencies in 75 days.
The rally, started on 3 November, will culminate on 28 January 2017 in Bangalore, with Narendra Modi addressing the BJP workers in the capital city of Karnataka. Yogi Adityanath, the CM of Uttar Pradesh, addressed the gathering when the rally reached Hubli. A reliable source known to the Indian Writers’ Forum (IWF) said, on condition of anonymity, “A party is expected to talk about its agenda for the election in a campaign, but this campaign is unique. BJP, in this rally, is only going to talk about how bad the Congress is.” Adityanath, commenting on the decision of the ruling Congress party to celebrate Tippu Sultan Jayanti, said that BJP would come to power, and would see to it that “such things” don’t happen again in Karnataka, which, according to him, is the birth place Hanuman, a Hindu God who helped and served lord Ram, according to the Hindu mythology.
The leaders of the Party were seen making hate speeches in public gatherings. The state is currently fuming with the multiple incidents of communal violence. The uttara kannada region of Karnataka witnessed brutal communal violence recently, following the death of Paresh Mesta under mysterious circumstances. Shobha Karandlaje claimed that Mesta was a BJP activist and he had been killed by the “Jihadists”. According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, Ananth Kumar Hegde, BJP MP, said, “There is Congress-sponsored terrorism everywhere in Karnataka and the state government has foisted cases of attempt to murder against innocent Hindu youth.” Hegde also, reportedly, gave a call for ‘jail bharo’ campaign to demanding the release of those who were arrested for participating in the riots. BJP, along with RSS, a Hindu fundamentalist organisation, is seen instigating communal violence by spreading rumors, like it has done in the case of Paresh Mesta. The party is attacking the ruling Congress party for being anti-Hindu, making it very clear that the agenda of BJP in this election is going to rest on communal polarisation.
Hegde had also, allegedly, made claims that he did not need any minority vote in 2016. According to a story of The Hindu, he was acquitted with a warning from the Election Commission for this statement. Hegde, recently, made disparaging remarks about secularists while addressing a gathering in an event organised by the Brahman Yuva Parishad, in Kukanur town in Koppal district. He said, "Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don't have their own identity...They don't know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals." Urging the gathering to identify with their caste, he said he respected the Constitution but "it [would] be changed in the days to come."
This is nothing new for BJP members and leaders. In the past, Adityanath, had delivered hate speeches in public and the party never took responsibility for it. The Party’s usual response has been to brush these speeches away, calling them the personal views of the members. Does Yogi Adityanath want win elections in Karnataka and “develop” Hanuman’s birth place for his personal gain? Does BJP not stand to benefit from these things at all? Does Ananth Kumar Hegde want to change the Constitution of India because of personal differences? Is Hegde personally mobilising people to protest against the Congress government? Did Hegde and Shobha Karandlaje, in their personal capacities, say the things that they did during the uttara kannada riots? Bjp, obviously, will not be answering these questions. The people of Karnataka must think and answer these for themselves.
Anything that is said by those claiming to be a member of a particular party in any political event, or to the media, cannot be considered to be their personal view. Things said are said because the speaker is backed and supported by the party. Having said this, it is clear that BJP’s favourite agenda, “development”, is not going to be the focus of the upcoming election. On the contrary, the agenda is to divide the vote bank by instigating communal sentiments.