The BJP has been keen to attract the Lingayat vote bank ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls and has been on a spree of inaugurating statues to project their agenda. Over the past few weeks, Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai has made several announcements regarding newly erected statues in various parts of the state. From the northern tip of Belagavi to the southern tip of Chamarajanagar districts, statue politics has become the central focus for the BJP.
One of the most spectacular inaugurations by the CM was the massive 108-foot tall Basavanna statue on the banks of the Ghataprabha River in Belagavi. This project is seen as a potential move to capture the Lingayat vote bank that holds substantial power in 18 Assembly seats of Belagavi district. In addition, another 36-foot tall statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji was erected atop the historical Rajahansgadh fort located thirty kilometers from Belagavi.
CM Bommai also launched a 15-ft tall Basavanna statue in Belagavi South constituency. This was followed by another monumental inauguration of the 65-ft tall Akkamahadevi statue at Udutadi in Shivamogga district. Akkamahadevi is revered by the Lingayat community and was an early female poet of the 12th century. CM Bommai is also planning to inaugurate the 108-foot tall statue of Male Mahadeshwara on March 18th at the famous pilgrimage spot Male Mahadeshwara Hills in Chamarajanagar.
The BJP is increasingly making an effort to appeal to the Lingayat community, as the election season approaches. The hastily organized events have been harshly criticized by the opposition, who see this as an attempt by the ruling party to use statue politics for gaining electoral advantage. BJP’s strategy to target the Lingayat vote bank is likely to come under closer scrutiny in the weeks leading to the declaration of the results.
The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is the ruling party in India, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party was founded in 1980 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a group of other senior political leaders and has since become one of the most influential political parties in India. BJP has also been credited for its focus on developing infrastructure, alleviating poverty and withdrawing archaic laws.
Basavaraj Bommai is the Chief Minister of Karnataka, elected in 2019. He has come to be known for his commitment to public service and for his clean image. His policies of providing power, water and education have been highly appreciated by the people of Karnataka. He is also the first CM from Karnataka to take part in the United Nations General Assembly session. Bommai has tries to connect with the citizens of Karnataka through numerous initiatives such as the CM Helpline and has now focussed his attention on appealing to the Lingayat vote bank.