[《Yeddyurappa played a key role in taking the BJP from a position of
insignificance to a position of strength in Karnataka. He hopes to become
chief minister once more later this year. Is he worried that the nakedly
communal rhetoric of the state's Adityanaths will spoil his chances? That
is one possibility. Another is that, as always, the sangh parivar speaks in
multiple voices. When I posted the report of Yeddyurappa's public
chastisement of his party colleagues on Twitter, one person commented:
"Sangh parivar is like multi head[ed] Hydra of Lerna. Each head manages
different vote banks but are all connected to RSS. All votes for Yeddi the
moderate & Simha the "bigot" etc. goes to RSS that nominates it's choice
for power & drives its ideological agenda through them."》]

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/karnataka-in-sight-198864

Karnataka in sight
Keeping out the Adityanaths

Politics and Play - Ramachandra Guha

Jan 06, 2018 00:00 IST


Among the assembly elections that will be held in 2018 is one in my home
state, Karnataka. This is particularly important to the Congress, since
Karnataka is the largest state it currently controls; and to the Bharatiya
Janata Party, since Karnataka is the one southern state where it has any
significant presence. Whereas the BJP has four members of the legislative
assembly in Andhra Pradesh, five in Telangana, one in Kerala and none at
all in Tamil Nadu, it has more than 40 MLAs in Karnataka. The party held
power in the state between 2008 and 2013, and hopes to return to office
later this year.

In the fourth week of December 2017, the Karnataka unit of the BJP began a
'Parivarthana Yatra', a tour of party leaders and workers through the state
to mobilize voters for the assembly election. The yatra was flagged off by
Adityanath, chief minister of India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh, who is
now emerging as the most influential BJP leader after the prime minister,
Narendra Modi.

In his speech inaugurating the yatra, Adityanath claimed that the state
government led by the chief minister, Siddaramaiah, "instead of worshipping
Hanuman and Vijayanagar, was worshipping Tipu Sultan... If Karnataka
dismisses Congress in one go, no one else will come to worship Tipu
Sultan". Adityanath also complained that in Karnataka people were allowed
to eat beef, thus (in his view) further violating the sentiments of Hindus.

It is noteworthy that Adityanath used an explicitly communal idiom in
criticizing the Congress in Karnataka. He could have spoken of how
Siddaramaiah's government has allowed the civic infrastructure of
Bangalore, the city that is the state's growth engine and provides most of
its tax revenues, to decay. But he didn't. He could have warned that the
parochial 'Kannada first and foremost' tendencies of the state government
imperilled its information technology and higher education sectors. He
didn't. He could have attacked the dynastic culture of the Congress;
several state ministers are sons of former ministers, and the chief
minister is himself thought to be keen on promoting his son in the next
election. But he didn't. He could have urged a greater emphasis on rural
development, a sector neglected by all chief ministers in recent decades.
He didn't. Instead of making legitimate and credible criticisms of the
functioning of the Congress government in Karnataka, Adityanath sought
merely to polarize Hindus against Muslims.

Sitting next to Adityanath when he made his speech was B. S. Yeddyurappa,
the prospective chief ministerial candidate of the BJP in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa said nothing at the time, but, a few days later, gave an
interview to The Hindu where he claimed that his party would fight the
assembly elections on the plank of development. Two BJP members of
parliament from the state had recently been making provocative statements
against minorities. Yeddyurappa now sought to put them in their place.
Speaking in Shivamogga to a correspondent of The Hindu, he said he "had
advised young leaders in the party, including Union Minister Anantkumar
Hegde and Pratap Simha, MP for Mysuru, several times against pursuing an
aggressive brand of Hindutva and issuing insensitive statements".

The Hindu report went on: "'Elected representatives should not exceed their
brief and should discharge their obligations within the framework of law,'
Mr. Yeddyurappa said... 'Young MPs should work with an inclusive spirit and
maintain dignity of their office,' he said." Karnataka's former chief
minister, who also hopes to be his state's future chief minister, "said the
BJP will not try to win the forthcoming Assembly elections by raking up
sensitive issues, but on development agenda".

The MPs whom Yeddyurappa singled out are, as it were, the Adityanaths of
Karnataka. Like the UP chief minister, they affect a machismo image, speak
in polemical and even vicious terms, and do not always show respect for the
rule of law. Simha drove his car through a police barricade; Hegde said his
party had come to power in New Delhi to change the Constitution (he since
withdrew this claim, after being condemned in Parliament and on social
media). Their conduct is unbecoming of elected representatives; even when
judged by the relatively lax standards of our time and our country.

But so is Adityanath's. He has faced multiple charges for assault and
rioting, made the most hateful speeches, and maintains a private army of
vigilantes. Why didn't Yeddyurappa mention him while speaking out against
divisive politics and when asking his partymen to focus on the plank of
development? One reason could be that in the BJP's hierarchy Adityanath
ranks far higher than Yeddyurappa. He is chief minister of India's largest
state. Yeddyurappa daren't take him on, whereas he can chastise MPs from
Karnataka who are junior to him in state politics.

Yeddyurappa played a key role in taking the BJP from a position of
insignificance to a position of strength in Karnataka. He hopes to become
chief minister once more later this year. Is he worried that the nakedly
communal rhetoric of the state's Adityanaths will spoil his chances? That
is one possibility. Another is that, as always, the sangh parivar speaks in
multiple voices. When I posted the report of Yeddyurappa's public
chastisement of his party colleagues on Twitter, one person commented:
"Sangh parivar is like multi head[ed] Hydra of Lerna. Each head manages
different vote banks but are all connected to RSS. All votes for Yeddi the
moderate & Simha the "bigot" etc. goes to RSS that nominates it's choice
for power & drives its ideological agenda through them."

As 2017 came to a close, Adityanath inaugurated the BJP's 'Parivarthana
Yatra' in Karnataka. Earlier in the year, in a bid to expand their party's
influence in another southern state, Amit Shah and Adityanath led a BJP
yatra in Kerala. They got such a poor response that they quickly returned
to where they had come from. A state that has the best health facilities in
India did not want lessons on (mis)governance from Adityanath, who, in
spite of being a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, could not even assure the
provision of oxygen to the town's hospitals, leading to the wholly
avoidable deaths of babies and children.

It is unlikely that Adityanath is going to re-enter Kerala any time soon.
Nor is it likely that he will make tours and speeches in Tamil Nadu, or in
Andhra and Telangana either. But he may yet return to Karnataka. For here
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP have a well-established
organizational base. And there are some communal flashpoints that they can
exploit. In Chikmagalur, they have for some years tried to make the Baba
Budan Giri Hills a southern Ayodhya, seeking to convert a syncretic site
visited by Hindus and Muslims into the property of extremist Hindus alone.
In Dakshina Kannada, where the three major religious communities all have
their share of fundamentalists, they can pit Hindus on one side against
Muslims and Christians on the other.

After Adityanath made his speech inaugurating the BJP's campaign, a
Kannadiga friend, deeply proud of his state's culture and achievements,
pointed out that while many young men and women migrate every year from
Lucknow to Bengaluru for work, few (if any) migrate in the reverse
direction. In terms of economic growth, social harmony, education and
health facilities, and women's empowerment, UP is one of the backward
states in India; and Adityanath seeks to take it further back still. Should
the residents of Karnataka, whatever language they speak and whatever
religion they profess, take lessons from a man like Adityanath on how to
conduct their own affairs?

As the countdown to the 2018 Karnataka elections begin, it will be
interesting to see what role Adityanath plays in the BJP's campaign. And
what role the party assigns the local Adityanaths too. If they do campaign,
and speak as is their wont, how will Yeddyurappa respond? That is a
question only Yeddyurappa can answer. But it is vital that the ordinary,
sensible, peace-loving citizens of Karnataka respond appropriately. A state
known for its open-minded spirit, its hospitality to hardworking people of
all backgrounds, its spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, its
astonishing richness of culture and literature, must not be seduced by
Hindutva hatred and bigotry. The people of Karnataka must emphatically
reject the politics of Adityanath, and of his local disciples and imitators
too.

ramachandrag...@yahoo.in
-- 
Peace Is Doable

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