Launching acerbic attacks on Political Opponents: Amit Shah’s speeches in Karnataka

BJP President has launched a vicious attack on Siddaramaiah government, by delivering rhetorical and inflammatory speeches at various places in Karnataka. His two-day visit comes ahead of the upcoming Karnataka elections.

Amit Shah

In his speech on Monday, he alleged that the Siddaramaiah government’s move to accord separate religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats was a ploy to prevent B D Yeddyurappa, BJP candidate for the post of Chief Minister from winning. Making that as his key argument, he kept on launching provocative assaults against the present government, and obviously not in the most sophisticated manner.

While repeating what he said on Monday, Amit Shah made an embarrassing faux pas today. While addressing a press conference in the Denagere city, Shah termed his party’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa as “the CM who led the most corrupt government in the country”, albeit mistakenly.

Earlier, referring to BJP’s win in the 2014 elections and thereby its win in several states as a victory procession, he said, “Modi’s victory chariot is now coming to Karnataka after winning several states and will sweep it too”
Targeting the present Chief Minster, Siddaramaiah majorly, he said, “Siddaramaiah ji, please tell us, the watch worth Rs. 40 lakhs that you are wearing on your hands, from where do you get the money to afford it?”

He said that under Siddaramaiah’s government the state has not developed at all, in fact the government has also misused the money that was allocated for the state by indulging in corruption and that it was the topmost corrupt state in the country. “If we say all this to Siddaramaiah ji, he will get upset like a woman!” he lamented. He said that when Siddaramaiah was already slated to lose the elections, why did he align with another loser, Rahul baba?”

The crowd, which seems to be comprising of a lot of BJP and RSS karyakartas, relished his pungent remarks whole-heatedly.

Further, he alleged that since the time Siddaramaiah’s government has come into power, in a span of 4.5 years, more than 20 karyakartas of BJP and RSS have been killed. (Indirectly alleging that either the government was responsible or complicit in all these murders)
However twitter users called out his bluff.

It must be noted that the Lingayata controversy started in March when the Karnataka government said that it wanted to accord a minority status to Lingayats. The followers of Lingayata tradition strongly reject the caste and thread wearing traditions of traditional Hinduism. In fact Basavanna, the leader who popularise the ideas of the sect was on the basis of ideas of human freedom and equality.

It is understood that Lingayats, who constitute 17% population of Karnataka, are highly organised and structured and have supported BJP in the past. So, BJP may stand to lose if they are accorded minority status. At the same time, Congress may gain by their minority status. Hence, one can imagine the discomfort this has caused within BJP, which, not focusing on its own deliverables for the election or even its own plans, is launching targeted individualistic attacks on Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi.

Amit Shah met Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur on Monday. Today he plans to visit the Madara Chennaiah mutt, which has been traditionally associated with Dalits. He also plans to visit the Bekkinkal, Singere and Muruga mutts among others during his visit to the state’s central region. He plans to end his visit with a rally to lure Dalits in Challakere in Chitradurga.
Certainly, his visits to holy places and meeting gurus is being seen as part of his efforts to ensure that the community backs the BJP.

However, a BJP office bearer in central Karnataka told The Economic Times on the conditions of anonymity, “We think our party president will talk to the mutt heads and convince them to continue supporting us and not the Congress” He added, “Shaji’s visit could also be a move to take suggestions from the pontiffs on whether the Centre should accept the Karnataka government’s recommendation, reject it or just put it on the backburner

Only a few weeks after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Davanagere on February 28, in which he said, “We are likely to make maximum gains this time in the central Karnataka region and that is why Shahji is focusing on retaining our Lingayat vote bank here” Shah is making the tours to lure people to vote for BJP.
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