Karnataka: Hijab, religious issues to take centrestage in LS polls

Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara, meanwhile on Sunday, alleged that BJP is trying to use these issues as a weapon during the Lok Sabha elections. “But it will not work,” he commented. 
A file photo of women in hijab used for representational purpose. (Photo | AFP)
A file photo of women in hijab used for representational purpose. (Photo | AFP)

BENGALURU:  The controversy surrounding Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement on lifting the ban on students wearing hijab at educational institutions, though later withdrawn, is unlikely to die down anytime soon. It seems to have set the tone for the fight between Congress and BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

BJP leaders, keeping their differences aside, came down heavily upon the chief minister for the statement. MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal went on to say that he will give a call to Hindu students to wear saffron shawls to institutions if the Congress government lifts the ban on hijab. Congress MLC BK Hariprasad provided BJP with further ammo when he termed “haters” of Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan as “boot lickers of the British”. 

RSS leader Kalladka  Prabhakar Bhat, taking part in Hanuma Jayanti celebrations in Mandya, termed Siddaramaiah’s decision treasonous and warned of an intense struggle against Congress.  Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara, meanwhile on Sunday, alleged that BJP is trying to use these issues as a weapon during the Lok Sabha elections. “But it will not work,” he commented. 

Parameshwara was the manifesto committee chairman for the May 10, 2023 assembly polls, in which the ban on Bajrang Dal was included at the last minute, triggering a controversy. Along with the promise of guarantees, this too worked in favour of Congress as Muslims by and large voted for Congress, helping it win 135 seats.

“Since Muslims have already polarised in favour of Congress, religious issues, like withdrawing the ban on hijab, will not help that party more. Instead, it may boomerang pushing Hindus towards BJP in the Lok Sabha elections,” a political analyst said. 

Former CM BS Yediyurappa said Siddaramaiah’s statement is a strategy to divert the attention. Interestingly, JDS, the alliance partner of BJP, has not commented on the issue.

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