Shail Derashri : Karnataka elections 2023 were closely watched as they took place exactly 12 months before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in India. The mandate was not only unique, but also unexpected for many with the Congress winning. This result opened up floodgates on Twitter with greetings in favor of the Congress, and at the same time, a blitzkrieg of insulting the Hindus of Karnataka began which carried not just vile language but also an attempt to incorporate fear in the minds of the Hindus of Karnataka as to who will now save them from the Abrahamic cult? Karnataka is touted as the “Gateway to the South”, and BJP had managed to establish a foothold in this state. With an enviable size of vote bank and loyalists, the fact that the BJP got rooted out of power in 2023 assembly elections came as an uncomfortable reality to the right wing cheerleaders. Let’s look at what caused the dirt-biting defeat of the BJP in Karnataka and understand if this is a warning bell for things to come? Following are the timeline of events that led to the Karnataka election 2023 build-up:
On July 18, 2021, the sitting Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa with a hard-core Hindutva poster boy image was replaced by Basavaraj Bommai. A report by Public TV revealed that the Bommai government had demolished a whooping 2600 temples to adhere to an SC order to raze down illegal religious structures. As the news
spread, anger grew among Hindus and the government brought in legislation on September 14, 2021 to protect temples from the SC order. In December 2021, the government announced its intent to free temples. This was viewed as a policy which should be adopted across Bharat, but was it also an attempt to blot the anger that the temple demolition drive had churned in the hearts and minds of the Hindus of Karnataka.
On January 1, 2022, Karnataka’s Udupi erupted with the Hijab controversy. It was projected as
a push-back of the Hindu society against the doctrines of the
Abrahamic cult. During this 40-odd day row, Udupi witnessed not
just sloganeering, but also stone-pelting incidents. The
controversy gained enough critical mass to become a nation-wide
point of discussion which drove a wedge within a society.
February 20, 2022 saw the murder of Bajrang Dal activist – Harsha Jingade, by followers of the
Abrahmic cult, because he voiced his support for having a uniform dress code in institutes of education. This stand challenged the ongoing Hijab row in Udupi, and hence Harsha was seen as “fit to be eliminated”. The Hindu consciousness was ruffled enough to result in widespread
demonstrations across the Shivamogga district. #JusticeForHarsha trended on Twitter. On February 22, 2022, BJP Party President – JP Nadda criticized KS Eshwarappa’s (Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj) February 9, 2022 comment that the saffron flag would one day replace the National Flag. With Hindu sentiments on the boil, this criticism was not received well by people of Karnataka in general.
July 26, 2022 witnessed the brutal murder of BJP’s Yuva Morcha worker – Praveen Nettaru. He was yet another fallen name in the ever increasing list of brutal murders that were taking place across Bharat of those who either supported Nupur Sharma or stood in solidarity with the supporters of Nupur Sharma. An unapologetic Hindu, Praveen’s murder sent
shock-waves within the community and his murder made the memories of Harsha Jingade’s
murder come alive.
July 27, 2022 saw wide-spread protests from BJYM members to show their discontent that
despite there being a BJP regime, Hindus were not safe, and this served as a ground for
enmasse resignation of BJYM members. Hundreds of protestors escorted Praveen Nettaru’s last remains to his home and the anger amongst the cadre was such that the car of BJP State Party President Nalinkumar Kateel was surrounded, pushed and heckled demanding answers from the top leaders. The Karnataka state police also lathi-charged BJYM
workers protesting against the murder of Praveen Nettaru. This acted as fuel to the fire since the police
were just seen as acting on the ruling party – BJP’s directions. In an interview to ANI, Member of
Parliament – Tejasvi Surya said that all party workers were like a family and when one of those family members were murdered, then it was natural for anger to be expressed. He also added that economic help from all districts of Karnataka would be collected and handed over to Praveen Nettaru’s family. Later, ANI deleted this sound-byte,
but this withdrawal sent yet another message that BJP was not serious about its cadre or cared
enough about them to even express condolence over their murders.
On July 28, 2022 when Karnataka was still reeling Praveen Nettaru’s brutal murder, an earth-shattering claim began reverberating across the people of Bharat – the interview of RSS Karyakarta and a BJP worker – Satyajeet Surathkal where he claimed that BJP funds SDPI (PFI’s political wing) to cover Muslim votes. This further put a question mark on BJP’s intent on banning PFI to control attacks on Hindus.
In December 2022, the Basavaraj Bommai Government shelved its plan to free temples from
government control (an announcement that the government had made in December 2021).
Year 2023 marked the countdown for Vidhansabha Elections, and in a February 11, 2023
election rally, the Central Home Minister Amit Shah remarked that only BJP could save the people of Karnataka, and if the people of Karnataka did not vote BJP to power, then PFI (in form of SDPI) would wreak havoc just as it was doing in Karnataka’s neighbour –
Kerala. This was taken as a jibe directed towards the hindu community that had stood witness
and protested against the murders of the members of its community, and justice was yet not
seen to be delivered.
BJP’s party president J.P. Nadda on April 30, 2023 paid a visit to the deceased Praveen
Nettaru’s home by announcing that BJP was gifting a house to Praveen’s family. Such optics
only reminded people of the ill-treatment by Karnataka government of the narrative dilution, the
lathicharge on workers and silencing of Tejasvi Surya.
In his May 2, 2023 election rally in Karnataka,
Narendra Modi took pot-shots on the Congress
manifesto stating that the Congress promise to ban
the Bajrang Dal should be seen as Congress’ spite
of Bajrang Bali. This comment too did not go down
well with the Hindu community in general, since
videos of demolished temples and vigrahas
re-surfaced in social media, and BJP’s crass treatment of vigrahas acted as a catalyst to the
Karnataka defeat came across as a hard hitting slap on the face of a political party that is seen
to be the face of Hindutva Politics in Bharat. To understand the mandate, one needs to delve
into the past to look for tell-tale signs of impending defeat, if any. As a part of the research, the
authors found evidence that can led one to realize the level and depth of anti-Hindu politics that
the BJP government was implementing. The timeline presented in this article spans the tenure
of Basavraj Bommai as Yeddyurappa was ousted from his position as the Chief Minister of
Karnataka by the then ruling BJP government. Yeddyurappa was one of the biggest factors
contributing to BJP’s win in the previous State
elections, however, he was also widely seen as a
hard-core, non-compromising Hindu. Is that why he
was shown the door by BJP leadership? Was
Yeddyurappa’s “Proud Hindu” image not in-line with
BJP’s “Sabka Vishwas” and “Triptikaran” policies? After being removed from his
Chief-ministership, why did BJP bring him in to campaign for 2023 elections? These questions
probe one to think deeper about the “Hinduwadi” optics projected by the BJP versus the actions
it carried out across the state.
The buildup for Karnataka elections was not a 3-4 month event, rather it was building up over a
period of over 2 years. To bad-mouth Hindus of Karnataka and cursing them to live with the
“consequences” of voting Congress to power is as pathetic as BJP’s claim on Hindutva politics.
With Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana set to become
poll-bound before the Lok Sabha 2024 General Elections, it would be wise for the voters of
these states to make informed decisions based on historical evidence rather than on a CM face
or a political party allegiance. It would also serve the political parties well to take a look at their
performance, optics and policies before dismissing the Hindu voter as being insensitive,
back-stabbing or divided.
Politics is just one aspect of a civilizational existence, but it is also a tool to make or break the
constructs of a civilization, especially since wielding it can leave long lasting impacts on the
society in general. 75 years after the British left India, we still curse their education and justice
system that was forced upon us. It is the politics of the modern day that keeps these
frankeinsteins alive. The mughals ceased to enforce their menace about 200 years ago, but we
still repent the day our most valorous kings repeatedly forgave the Islamic crusaders for letting
loose havoc on our lands – only to see more destruction of our civilizational identities – we are
still fighting to reclaim our sacred temples (like Gyanwapi and Mathura) which were forcibly
taken from us. Are these examples not the result of a political class that was misguided, weak
or in a state of surrender? In the land of Bharat which is the mother of Democracy, should we
not be informed, aware and sensitive towards selection of the people who would represent our
voice? Treat your vote as your tool rather than a donation. Make your Voice heard. Make your
demands Preferred. This can happen only when there is clarity of thought..
Shail Derashri Chemical Engineer and MBA by Qualification | AEE’s First Woman CEM of
Bharat | Internationally Recognized and Awarded Energy Auditor | Root Cause Analysis Expert |
Student of Truth, Values, Stories and Learnings of Dharma
Varun Kulkarni Mechanical Engineer by qualification, Engineering manager by profession.
Youtuber. History Enthusiast. Strong believer of Vedic values and Sanatan. ISHA Volunteer