Karnataka assembly elections 2018: AHINDA vs Hindutva
It would surely be a hard fought battle in Karnataka. The BJP. Congress and JD(S) would put their best foot forward to ensure that they bag the prestigious state following the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018.
There are many issues that the battle would be fought on. While water would be a key issue especially in North Karnataka, analysts are of the view that more emphasis would need to be given to local issues during the elections.
The broader battle would however be on these lines. AHINDA vs Hidutva and Hindu nationalism vs Kannada pride.
The AHINDA (acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalit) vs Hindutva battle would be a crucial one. Siddaramaiah's affiliation towards the cause of the Dalits, backward classes and minorities is very evident in several of his decisions.
He has used this to take on the RSS and Bajrang Dal on several occasions. He is of the firm belief that AHINDA politics would keep the youth away from the Right Wing. However if one looks at the larger picture, the caste census is also what attracts Siddaramaiah towards the cause. The government has not made the caste census public, but some reports suggest that the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities constitute only 9.8 and 8.2 per cent of the population respectively.
The BJP on the other hand will look to counter AHINDA politics with Hindutva. It recently inducted Anant Kumar Hegde as a Union Minister and this was a clear signal about the agenda. The BJP has also gone to town on issues such as Tipu Jayanti. Yogi Adityanath said in Hubbali on Thursday if the BJP comes to power then there will be no Tipu worshipping.
The BJP has also made a lot of noise about the Hanuman Jayanti controversy. The BJP is aware that Siddaramaiah's AHINDA politics will alienate the other communities. By raising the Hindutva bogey, the BJP hopes to counter Siddaramaiah's strategy.
The recent visit by Amit Shah to the Adichunchungiri mutt also was an attempt to bring in the Vokkaliga votes. This would be a strategy that the BJP would use against the JD(S) which has strong Vokkaliga vote base.
The Congress has also been speaking about Kannada pride in loud tones. The government made a move to get an official status for the state flag. It also spoke out and blocked the Hindi imposition campaign apart from making Kannada mandatory schools. The recent decision to cancel a Sunny Leone event following protests by Kannada groups was another move by the government to rake up the issue of Kannada pride.