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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 20, May 13, 2023

Karnataka election of 2023: empathy versus hatred | Radhakanta Barik

Saturday 13 May 2023, by Radhakanta Barik


May 14, 2023

Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra made him a humble and cultured politician of India who could start conversations with farmers, students, and workers. His humility and determination to fight the arrogance of the ruling power are getting public support. Karnataka has come forward to support the Congress Party and Rahul Gandhi to go for a long march in fighting communal authoritarianism. “Nafrat Ka Bazaar (The Market of Hate) has closed down and Mohabbat ki dukaaneien (Shops of Love) has opened in Karnataka." He had spent twenty days walking in Karnataka in his padayatra touching 19 assembly constituencies of which five were with Congress but all these seats have gone to pockets of the Congress Party except one. It resulted in the Congress winning 135 seats and a 43% vote share. The party’s surge from 69 seats in the last assembly to 135 is a big leap.

Karnataka Mega Survey a small channel told the truth. Congress in 2023 from 2018 is as follows:

80 to 132-140
BJP 104 in 2018 to 57-65 in 2023
JDS 37 in 2018 to 19-25 in 2023
Others 3 - to 1-5 in 23

This is the most realistic youtube channel predicting the realistic election result whereas other national channels faltered on the way.

By looking at the Karnataka election one finds people without assets including wage earners have rebelled against the ruling party. Over a decade the social and economic sufferings have multiplied. If one moves on the streets or goes to a construction site one finds that workers are without any vegetables which tells that inflation in foodstuff is very high. The government is painting a false picture or manipulating the data. The unemployment rate is much higher than the state recognises including CMIE which shows higher unemployment. As one moves into the villages and city one finds the young are unemployed and they are working in cleaning vehicles from father to son. One sees the painful transition of Indian society without economic data and social data. The social conflict has been engineered by calling to hate a community which is not working now. At the subterranean level, so much distress is hidden and felt by the poor and wage earners. They have rebelled against the ruling party in the Karnataka election. This resulted in the electoral rout of the BJP against the Congress.

A fake reality made up by the ’Godi media’ has created problems for Modi Regime. They do not know the real anger of the public against them. If the independent media would have worked out then this problem would not have come up. There was no feedback process as discussed in political science language. No corrective measures have been worked out by the present regime. People suffer from hunger, unemployment and poor education, and ill health all these problems could have been articulated against the regime. The regime is oblivious of these facts and is not aware of ground reality. Despite the BJP having 36 percent of the votes they lost more seats as people refused to vote them. This needs to be discussed.

The media largely supportive of the BJP felt nervous to report the matter that the Congress Party is winning the assembly election in Karnataka. They played safe with words saying instead that the Karnataka elections will result in a hung assembly. It was a big joke in the electoral history of India. India Today’s survey predicted the Congress Party getting between 120 to 140 but felt nervous about discussing it on TV channels. They were told that Congress would get not more than 126. Strange things happened in the media. The BJP IT Cell chairman came and blasted Rajdeep Sardesai an important TV journalist. He tolerated the abuses for nothing. He put a question to Amit Malviya that your party took the issues like Hijab to Tipu Sultan. The leader of the BJP turned furious. One can understand the precarious nature of journalists in India.

Prakash Raj the film artist, and a critic of the present regime brings out a cartoon speaking of two prominent Hindutva leaders such as Modi and Yogi returning back with their thalis (bags) and taking their cart back with loaded with hatred piled in the cart covered with saffron flags with lotus flowers. A journalist from Aja Tak a lady is standing near the cart. This brings out truth and journalists combined with political leaders.

The Dalits, Tribals, Muslims, and Kurubas who comprise 45% of the population into a signature political coalition racking up two similarly constituted political majorities within a decade. This brings back the political imaginary of the backward and Dalits of Devaraj Urs which brought back the Congress party to power during Mrs Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister. Today construction of the social block by the present leaders has brought back the memory of Urs in Indian politics.

PM Modi is an expensive leader for the state of Karnataka where fifty percent of people suffer from drought and famine every year. The state requires money for investing in irrigation and education and health but getting wasted by Modi in his royal trips to the state,

PM Modi’s expenditure from the state treasury of Karnataka is huge.

A Bengaluru Civic Body spent Rs 24 crore in connection with Modi’s city visit. (The New India Express)
B Karnataka civil bodies spent Rs 56 crores for PM Modi’s Yoga Day visit (Indian Express)
C 11.18 crores spent for a few hours during his visit to Kalaburagi in Karnataka (the probe)
D nearly 14 crores spent for an event in Belagavi Rs 3 crore just to ferry people (South First)
E Karnataka govt spent Rs 36.43 during his visit on Feb 27, Hindu
F 9 crore spent for IIT Dharwad opening Times of India

Karnataka is not Gujarat but it is a prosperous state with strong literary and cultural traditions. It is an economically prosperous state without losing its cultural moorings. This explains the peculiarities of Karnataka which moved out of the Hindutva model of violent politics. “Karnataka has been formed as a State taking regions from various provinces such as Madras, Bombay Presidencies, and Hyderabad Nizam State. Writers belonging to different linguistic backgrounds went for the development of its Language Kannada. Some of them Tamilians, some from Marathi, and Some belonging to Kannada created powerful literature in this language. Human creativity flows in a language be it poetry or novels or plays. Most of the novels speak out about the social oppression of Dalits. Although Dalit scholarship has evolved over time and they have a scholarly journal in English in articulating the grievances of the Dalit community.

The Muslims have got their share of jobs in the state of Karnataka which is an exception in India. The city of Bangalore created space for the flow of individual creativity. Individuality is a characteristic of city life. Bangalore is the post-independent wonder of India. A small town with some public institutes today is harboring some of the leading MNCs. The managers of these MNCs came to India sometime after 1990 and selected the places for their investment. They prefer cool places such as Bangalore and Ranchi with the best schools and a clean environment. But they found Ranchi is having problems of law and order and lethargy of Bihar intelligentsia and officials. In Karnataka, they found a work culture and trained skilled labour, and better law and order which encouraged them to invest in Bangalore. These trained skilled labour are being trained in private colleges and rich with agricultural surplus invested in creating these private institutions which draw students from all over India and from abroad. The best laboratory and teaching staff helped these institutions. Under the Congress rule, they provided the best infrastructure in Bangalore and this has grown into mega poly. This is the second biggest Odiya town after Bhubaneswar.

People from all linguistic backgrounds have settled here. Today Bangalore provides employment to skilled people from North India. Some years back I was traveling by train in the Bangalore Rajdhani from Delhi which was carrying unemployed engineers from here. On inquiry, they are going to Bangalore for getting employment which happens in the first week of January of every year. Wealth can be created with technological innovation and ideas prove a point today in the case of Bangalore” ( R K Barik, Frontier ) The literary and cultural development of the state creates hope that the major section of the artists and writers favour democracy where poor marginal can play role in the process of empowerment. This is what is different from Gujarat and UP in Indian politics.

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