Desh Ki Baat

Karnataka Elections 2023: Will BJP’s pitch against the Muslims garner votes?

BJP sets the tone for the Karnataka Elections 2023, searching for ‘Nationalist Muslims’

The Karnataka Elections 2023 are going to be the test for Congress as BJP’s communal overtones are setting the stage for polls. At the BJP’s ongoing Vijay Sankalpa Yatra, the Shivamogga BJP MLA Eshwarappa during his speech commented on the ‘Azaan’ heard in the background, he said, “The Azaan was a headache for him wherever he went. There is a Supreme Court judge. Today or tomorrow, this will end. We also pray at temples, chant shlokas and the women sing bhajans. In the entire world, the only country protecting dharma is Bharat Mata. But if they have to scream through the mic, then we have to say he (Allah) is deaf. There is no need (for azaan). So, I pronounce that this issue should be addressed at the earliest.”

After the backlash on his comments, the former minister said, “I have not shown disrespect to any religion by my statement.”

He further added that Muslim leaders should contemplate the issue and take an appropriate decision. Eshwarappa also said that BJP had never stated that they do not want the votes of Muslims but want the votes of only “Muslim nationalists” in the upcoming assembly elections. 

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Karnataka’s playground is marked with a series of communal events including the Hijab row, and anti-Conversion Bill among others. Contrary to BJP’s approach, PM Modi’s outreach to Pasmanda and Bohra Muslims is seen as an attempt to breach the Muslim community. 

Congress politician K Rahman Khan called Modi’s outreach to Pasmanda and Bohra Muslims an attempt to divide Muslims. He said, “Modi is trying to drive a wedge within the Muslim community. The majority of Muslims are economically and socially backward and there are no Pasmanda Muslims in Karnataka. The fear of persecution is common to all Muslims, Bohras cannot be dubbed as oppressed as they are a business community. One should not be swayed by Modi’s divisive politics.”

Revival of Congress?

Congress seems to be working for its revival in Karnataka. They got the magic push as all leaders of JD(S) may join their party. JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday said more leaders and legislators may quit the party, ahead of Assembly polls in Karnataka, even as the party’s Arsikere MLA K M Shivalinge Gowda announced that he is going to join the Congress. The former Chief Minister also said that the Karnataka Assembly poll schedule is expected to be announced by the Election Commission, later this month.

Gowda said, “I had said I will abide by the decision of leaders in my constituency and accordingly met last night with about three thousand people. Looking at the developments in the party and constituency, it was good for me to join Congress, as BJP is not an option.”

The Congress in Karnataka on 13th March inducted a businessman, who is assumed to be one of those who played a key role in ‘Operation Kamala’, which led to the downfall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in 2019.

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