BENGALURU: The state BJP is not just focusing on major communities, but has turned its lens on microscopic nomadic and semi-nomadic groups too, realising that they could play a major role in the 2023 Assembly polls. Apart from conducting various events to organise these communities, the ruling party is also using the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to woo them.
Modi on Friday paid floral tributes to the statues of Kanaka Dasa and Valmiki and the portrait of Onake Obavva, the icons representing the Kuruba, ST Nayaka and Dalit communities. He also unveiled the statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, whom Vokkaliga leaders of different parties are laying claim to.
But the BJP leadership, especially its think tank RSS, has been subtly organising around 130 communities who have no political representation and being sidelined within SC/STs and OBCs. As per the National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, headed by Balakrishna Sidram Renke, that gave its report in June 2006, Karnataka is next only to Maharashtra in the population of these communities at 8-9 per cent. “If 3-4 per cent of these communities can be wooed, it will tilt the scales in the polls. That is why RSS functionary Vadiraj Samarasya has taken up the task of identifying and organising them for BJP for the last almost one-and-a-half years,” a source said.
While Congress and JDS are looking at grabbing votes of major castes, BJP, besides keeping Veerashaiva-Lingayats as a base, has been thinking out of the box, observed a political pundit. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who recently decided to increase the SC/ST quota, is moving to set up the Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Development Corporation.
“But it’s mere eyewash. Unless a commission is set up to identify these communities, benefits won’t reach the intended groups,” alleged former chairman for the Backward Classes Commission Dr CS Dwarakanath, who heads Congress’ social justice wing. Dwarakanath, who has been organising the most backward classes for the party, stressed that marginalised communities will play their own role in the polls.
The state has 45 semi-nomadic communities within the SC category, including Dombisada, Korama,
Koracha, Iruliga, Budga Jangama among others.
Similarly, STs and OBCs have over 50 such communities. Even among Muslims, there are Pinjaras and others who have no political representation, he added.