Kar­nataka gets dose of crass pol­i­tics

The Asian Age - - Edit -

The pub­lic dis­course in Kar­nataka has hit a new low as it plumbs the depths be­fore As­sem­bly polls. Given the state’s his­tory of in­vec­tives, this pub­lic ex­change of ver­bal hos­til­i­ties may not be that un­usual. A former Prime Min­is­ter had once as­sailed the then chief min­is­ter with a choice ex­ple­tive that was more in the Don­ald Trump class of abu­sive lan­guage. How­ever, the great dan­ger in the lat­est ex­change of in­ci­vil­i­ties is the de­gree of po­lar­i­sa­tion the peo­ple of the state are be­ing sub­jected to. A no- holds barred con­test at the hus­tings with each speaker try­ing to outdo the other in rak­ing up core po­lit­i­cal is­sues of the crasser kind is cer­tain to hurt the long- term in­ter­ests of a ma­jor state. Con­sid­er­ing the close­ness of the verdict in the Gu­jarat elec­tions, it is only nat­u­ral that the poll tem­per­a­ture is high, but both sides must take heed of the dam­age they are wreak­ing on the psy­che of the peo­ple.

Spar­ring with Hin­dutva as a poll plank was pre­dictable af­ter the Gu­jarat ex­pe­ri­ence of the prin­ci­pal Op­po­si­tion party in the Congress also play­ing upon sen­ti­ments to at­tract the votes of the ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity even as its pres­i­dent went on a tem­ple run to counter the BJP’s big­gest poll draw, which is play­ing up to ma­jori­tar­i­an­ism. What this has done is to fur­ther stoke the dis­cord al­ready ap­par­ent in Man­galuru and coastal Kar­nataka where ex­tremely big­oted right­ist el­e­ments have long been stir­ring the pot. Com­mu­nal dishar­mony has been wit­nessed there for a while now with the moral polic­ing of the youth of all ma­jor com­mu­ni­ties lead­ing to or threat­en­ing vi­o­lence. Buried in th­ese flare ups is the ba­sic in­equal­i­ties in de­vel­op­ment. It is against this back­ground that the dan­gers must be as­sessed of out­right cam­paign­ing on Hin­dutva lines and trig­ger­ing the beef de­bate to drag in chief min­is­ter Sid­dara­ma­iah as Ut­tar Pradesh chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath has done as his party’s poster boy early in the cam­paign.

While the BJP’s right to em­ploy any­one to can­vass for votes can­not be ques­tioned, what the party seems to have lost sight of is a more sen­si­ble cam­paign to high­light the anti- in­cum­bency fac­tor weigh­ing on the Congress gov­ern­ment. The re­sponse, with the Congress paint­ing the BJP and RSS as “Hindu ter­ror­ists”, has been typ­i­cally com­bat­ive, but ugly. Farmer dis­tress has his­tor­i­cally been the high­est in the state. The IT cap­i­tal of the coun­try is sti­fled by in­fra­struc­ture prob­lems ham­per­ing growth. Bengaluru’s civic night­mares with traf­fic and pol­lu­tion, as high­lighted in foam­ing lakes and chang­ing weather pat­terns have all been for­got­ten as ma­jor par­ties are un­able to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of us­ing re­li­gion as the main poll plank. It is clear that the peo­ple of Kar­nataka de­serve much bet­ter but it is un­likely they will get it as we seem, as a na­tion, to be los­ing the larger per­spec­tive of qual­ity of life be­cause elec­tion­eer­ing is as­sum­ing a beastly na­ture. The de­struc­tive na­ture of such pol­i­tics should be ob­vi­ous.

The re­sponse, with the Congress paint­ing the BJP and RSS as ‘ Hindu ter­ror­ists’, has been typ­i­cally com­bat­ive, but ugly. Farmer dis­tress has his­tor­i­cally been the high­est in the state.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.