The upcoming Karnataka assembly polls are being seen as a battle between two major parties – the BJP and the Congress – and they have both chosen different strategies to secure victory. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking on its performance while in power while the Congress is confident of clinching a win due to voter fatigue and the ongoing communal strife in the state.
Coastal Karnataka is a stronghold of the BJP and the region has always been prone to communalism. Morality policings, gender-based violence and intolerance for various communities is a widespread issue here. Despite the BJP’s best efforts to deny any role in the unrest, people from the region can remember the consecutive elections held in 2013 and 2018 that saw lesser seats for the saffron party.
However, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Amit Shah’s aggressive campaigning for 2019, the BJP was able to turn the tides and secure success in Coastal Karnataka.
For the upcoming election in 2023, the BJP hopes that their Hindutva stance and development work done by the center and state government will win them the voters. BJP’s primary adversary, the Congress, believes that the BJP’s strategy revolves around communal politics and they no longer have a chance at succeeding. On the other side of the coin, the Social Democratic Party (SDPI), are also posing a challenge to both the parties by fielding candidates in at least 100 constituencies across the state.
In Uttara Kannada district, the elections are a straight-up between BJP and the Congress, and both parties approached the election on different fronts – while BJP’s strategy revolves around emotions of Hindutva, the Congress is dealing with issues of unemployment, corruption and the governing party’s failure to deliver on its promises.
BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel deftly manoeuvred a tricky situation last year when the party’s worker Praveen Nettaru was murdered. BJP also took pre-emptive action by banning Popular Front of India as a tactic to address the concerns of their support base.
The BJP’s objective of clinching success in Coastal Karnataka is backed by their grassroot’s team lead by Sudarshan M, Dakshina Kannada district BJP president. The aim is to secure victory based on the performance of its government and the influence of RSS at the grassroots.
On the other hand, Congress is aware of the caste system in the state and is looking to give prominence to the Billava community. Congress is also in the process of shortlisting new faces for some constituencies in the hopes that they will unsettle the BJP’s stable hold on the states. Congress Party’s president in Udupi District, Ashok Kumar Kodavoor stated that BJP has already exhausted its communal strategies and its unlikely to reap any advantage this time.
To sum it up, the Karnataka Assembly polls of 2023 is a much anticipated election with two different strategies employed by the BJP and Congress. While BJP is confident of their development work and RSS influence at the grassroots, Congress is hoping to capitaliseon the voter fatigue caused by communal tensions in the state. The election will be noted for its far-reaching consequences and comes with a sense of great anticipation.