It’s official, RSS helps BJP up the game in coastal Karnataka

While BJP is part of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS had so far, at least on record, stayed away from assembly elections.

Published: 24th April 2018 04:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2018 04:12 AM   |  A+A-

Image of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for representational purpose (File | AP)

Express News Service

BANTWAL (DAKSHINA KANNADA): The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is riding high on the Hindutva wave in communally sensitive Coastal Karnataka region, has now officially received the backing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). While BJP is part of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS had so far, at least on record, stayed away from assembly elections. But this time around, BJP workers are being joined by Sangh karyakartas publicly in seeking votes in the three coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi. With a clear agenda to lay the groundwork for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the RSS has made its entry into Karnataka politics official for the very first time.

Prabhakar Bhat, otherwise known as Kalladka Bhat, the Kshetra Karyakarni (zonal executive member), RSS in-charge of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, claims that given the current situation in Coastal Karnataka, the RSS was compelled to dive into the state elections. “While we have worked for the Lok Sabha elections earlier, we have never involved ourselves in the state elections. But this time around, we are campaigning for the BJP to ensure it wins in Karnataka. BJP win in Karnataka will be a stepping stone for 2019,” he told The New Indian Express.

Prabhakar Bhat alleged that the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka was anti-Hindu and the RSS was willing to support any party that promotes Hindutva as an agenda. “Our ideology is Hindutva and apart from the BJP, no one is speaking about it. Injustice is being meted out to Hindus under the Siddaramaiah government and we will support who are ideologically aligned with us,” he said.

Coastal Karnataka has the highest number of RSS shakhas in the state, making its influence considerable. Karyakartas of the RSS have already started campaigning largely in Bantwal and will continue in other parts of Dakshina Kannada, Bhat said.

The ideological head of BJP, RSS has always claimed to fight against corruption but the organisation has decided to support BJP despite B S Yeddyurappa, an accused in a corruption case, and the kin of illegal mining scam accused Janardhana Reddy being given tickets. “It is a pitiable condition that Congress’ corrupt ways have reached the voter. We are not saying that things will change overnight but this is a formation for reformation. We are choosing the best of the available options,” Bhat said, justifying RSS’ decision to officially back the BJP. He acknowledged that anti-incumbency and Yeddyurappa’s decision to break away from the BJP led to Congress’ victory in 2013 assembly elections.

Bhat claimed that the anti-Hindu sentiments of the Congress government had led to anger among the people. “Our workers, mostly poor people, are being called to police stations and forced to furnish a bond of `10 lakh ahead of the elections. They are held responsible for any violence or chaos that takes place. Those booked for petty cases years ago are being included in the list of troublemakers," he said. While Bhat acknowledged that Congress leaders, including his arch-rival and district in-charge minister Ramanath Rai, speak about development, infrastructure, road and water during their official rallies, he says Hindus are being targeted. “They speak of roads but are these roads safe for Hindu girls?" he asked.

Bhat is confident of BJP winning at least 12 of the 19 seats in all three districts of Coastal Karnataka and credits it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity so much so that he says candidates no longer matter. “Our single point agenda is Hindutva. Candidates don’t matter. What matters is ideology,” he said.



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