With a little over a week to go for the Karnataka polls, the two heavyweights Prime Minister Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are campaigning hard. Modi hit Rahul on his “15 minute dare” with a counter of asking him to recite the achievements of the current Karnataka government under chief minister Siddaramaiah.Political maneuvering between other party chiefs is under way. JD(S) chief ministerial candidate H.D. Kumaraswamy has reiterated that there isn’t and will be no alliance with the BJP in the case of a hung assembly. This came despite the Prime Minister praising Deve Gowda. The JD(S) could play the spoiler in the state. The Hindustan Times editorial calls JD(S) the X factor in the state –
There’s plenty of blame to go around with both parties fielding candidates who have dubious pasts to say the least when it comes to corruption. In an interview with the Hindu, Former Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde states that corruption has become a non issue in the state elections. His report on illegal mining in 2011 was instrumental in toppling then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa from office – “In 2013 the Congress, which was in the Opposition, promised to implement the report on illegal mining. The first thing it did after it came to power was to begin weakening the Lokayukta by forming an Anti Corruption Bureau which works under the government and robbing the Lokayukta police of the power to investigate cases”. Crime, Law and Order With regards to the law and order situation in the state, the Siddaramaiah government might be on the defensive. There have been several high profile incidents in the past 3 years - Karnataka Lokayukta P Vishwanatha Shetty was stabbed multiple times in his office in March and journalist & activist Gauri Lankesh was murdered last year with the case still going on. The government has come under criticism from Modi and the BJP is not doing enough to protect BJP and RSS workers. There have been lynchings of BJP and RSS workers in the state. In the past, the issue of crime and law & order hasn’t been on the forefront of the minds in contesting elections in the state. However, this issue could be a nullifying factor for voters due to a lack of differentiation between the two parties Religion and caste While capitalizing on their core Hindutva message has worked for the BJP in many states, it’s a tougher ask in Karnataka and cold be said of the southern part of the country in general if results in past elections are any indication. The chief minister invoked the pride of Karnataka by unveiling its own state flag. Another important development is recognition of Lingayats as a separate religion from Hinduism. Another issue hanging over the elections is the Cauvery water dispute. The state and centre have effectively punted on the issue at regular intervals. The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Karnataka to “be ready to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu or face the consequences”. The central government essentially told the court that the Prime Minister is busy with the Karnataka elections in response to criticism directed at it by the apex court. This plus a host of other issue will face the incoming government, whoever they may be. The stakes for both parties are high as each state election could provide a picture as to what happens in 2019.
When in power, Yeddyurappa and Reddy Brothers looted Karnataka. Our Govt. brought them to justice.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 25, 2018
Now Mr Modi is trying to take 8 of them from jail, into the Vidhan Sabha.
This is an insult to every honest citizen, to Karnataka and to the spirit of Basavanna.