Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Chairman DK Shivakumar has said that Karnataka’s Bharatiya Janata Party lends tacit support to Hindutva outfits that rake in communal issues in hopes of electoral gains. He thinks, however, that the saffron party will not get an UP-type result here.
How do you view the series of polarizing incidents in Karnataka and the government’s response?
BJP leaders rake in one or another communal issue daily to hide government failures. The government has no achievements to present to the people. They started with the hijab issue and went on to prohibit Muslim traders from setting up shops in the premises of Hindu temples. Now they have started boycotting halal meat and demanding the removal of loudspeakers from mosques. Then they took up the issue of the mango trade to target Muslim traders. BJP leaders lend tacit support to Hindutva outfits to divert people’s attention from the real issues such as unemployment and rising prices of fuel, LPG and other daily goods. Unemployment and inflation have no religion.
Congress said the developments were aimed at next year’s election. Do you believe the BJP expects a similar outcome to UP and how do you think the Karnataka electorate will react?
I don’t think the Uttar Pradesh result will be repeated in Karnataka. Our state is totally different. The people of Karnataka are peace-loving. The BJP is spreading lies.
If you think Karnataka will not react like UP, what are the reasons for your belief?
People here want communal harmony and peace. Businessmen and other people from other countries come to Benglauru first and then travel to other places in the country. Bengaluru attracts investments from different countries. Fortune India 500 companies operate from Bengaluru. Patients from various countries come to Benglauru for medical treatment. Our socio-economic culture is totally different compared to UP Karnataka cannot be compared to UP
What is the specific plan of Congress to counter it electorally and socially?
Congress unites people, while BJP divides. The Congress will expose the failures of the BJP government by staging protests and rallies across the state. We are organizing a demonstration on April 11 at Freedom Park in Bangalore against inflation.
Congress often seems confused in its response to these incidents. Does the party fear being called “anti-Hindu”?
I do not think so. We counter BJP propaganda in different forms. BJP leaders are raising communal issues, we are raising issues related to issues faced by the people.