Karnataka CM Bommai flexes muscle, adopts pro-Hindu stand
According to sources, if not for the support of the government, the quiet city of Tumakuru would not have ‘overreacted’ and ensured a bandh.
Published: 25th October 2021 03:02 AM | Last Updated: 25th October 2021 03:02 AM | A+A A-
TUMAKURU: Close on the heels of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s advocacy for moral policing in Mangaluru, the overwhelming response to the ‘state-sponsored’ Tumakuru bandh has raised suspicions that Bommai is playing the strong pro-Hindu leader, like Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. The party high command has already declared him the face of the BJP for the 2023 assembly polls.
“The CM is committed to safeguarding the interests of the Hindu community,” a remark by ruling BJP MLA G B Jyothiganesh during Friday’s bandh, is an indicator to the political narrative in Karnataka. He reportedly had no choice but to support the bandh called by pro-Hindu organisations, as former minister and four-time MLA Sogadu Shivanna, an original RSS man, is a contender for the Tumakuru seat in 2023.
According to sources, if not for the support of the government, the quiet city of Tumakuru would not have ‘overreacted’ and ensured a bandh. There are reports that ranks of pro-Hindu groups are descending from other regions, to reportedly make inflammatory statements against another community.
“This not only incites communal clashes but leads to violence, as a section of the media has reported,” said Shivaraj B Nanjappa, a lawyer who felt Bommai’s advocacy for moral policing is unwarranted. “A bandh of this scale is shocking, and cannot be held without a hidden political agenda. It is reportedly over a ‘road rage’ incident involving a member of the Bajrang Dal and unruly youth of another community,” said Yashwanth, an interdisciplinary scholar with interest in Indian history.
This was echoed by retired English lecturer-turned-farmer Holatal Siddagangaiah. “A bandh of this magnitude over road rage is unexpected, and a town like Tumakuru is finding it difficult to digest this as no such response is seen for burning issues such as fuel prices. BJP had held such bandhs when Congress was in power,” he said.
Small-time trader Manjunath felt the bandh was not acceptable at a time when Covid-19 has already had an adverse impact on business, and that too called by a ruling party MLA who could have ensured legal action against the accused in the road rage incident. “What have they achieved through the bandh, over an issue between two individuals? It will paint the city in a bad light. Tumakuru has the Siddaganga mutt with a ‘sharanas’ tradition, contributing immensely to harmony in society,” said septuagenerian sociologist K V Krishnamurthy.
Interestingly, Shivanna did not participate in the bandh, sending a message to the electorate that he wants inclusive politics, as no communal clashes were reported during his four terms as MLA. The influence of coastal Karnataka over communal issues -- both trivial and serious -- is apparent in Tumakuru, as information spreads like a wildfire beyond geographies, garnering sympathy along the way and uniting like-minded people. Political polarisation helping the Congress cannot be ruled out either, as minorities gravitating towards the party cannot be ruled out. The JDS, runner-up in 2018 elections, has remained a mute spectator.