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After Karnataka, Studying The Tea Leaves For 2024

To borrow an IPL time period, the sport is on. Pre-Karnataka, it was generally believed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would comply with within the footsteps of Jawaharlal Nehru by successful three nationwide elections in a row. The assumption stemmed from his reputation, transcending class, caste, gender, and area, particularly amongst Hindus who account for 80 per cent of the nation’s inhabitants. There was additionally the notion that 9 years of his regime had improved the standard of lives of a cross-section of individuals by higher supply of “new welfarism” to beneficiaries, and progress in digital connectivity and transport infrastructure.

Moreover, there is a gigantic disparity in election funding accessible with the BJP and the Opposition. The Opposition can also be extensively perceived to be in disarray. Above all, the Modi-Amit Shah duo, is seen to be perpetually election-focused and liable to the ruthless use of saam, dam, dand, bhed (persuasion, bribe, coercion, and division).

Distinction that with what occurred within the Karnataka election, notably within the Jayanagar constituency in Bengaluru. A quintessentially middle-class space, Jayanagar epitomises the Bangalore of the 70s – when it was principally nonetheless a cantonment city with a smattering of top-grade scientific establishments – as a lot it does the IT-dominated Bengaluru of right this moment with world-class visitors jams. Jayanagar is a part of the Bangalore South parliamentary seat, which elected Tejasvi Surya, the poster boy of Hindutva, to parliament. Modi’s last-minute Bengaluru blitz went by 5 of the seven meeting constituencies of Bangalore South, together with Jayanagar.

The CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey in Karnataka confirmed that the younger and college-educated, who’re current in giant numbers in Jayanagar, stayed with the BJP on this election. In truth, the BJP improved its efficiency within the 36 seats of the Bengaluru political sub-region, its vote share going up by 5 per cent and its seats share from 11 to 16. But, the BJP barely scraped by within the Jayananagar seat with the state’s tiniest margin – 16 votes. It helped {that a} candidate with the identical identify as that of the Congress candidate polled 320 votes.

The Congress’s technique in Karnataka, most commentators be aware, centered nearly fully on native points. However pray, what had been these native points? In a nutshell, they had been the every day challenges that confront the huge nationwide inhabitants subsumed within the 90% labour pressure which works within the casual sector. The rise in costs of requirements, none extra so than cooking fuel. Petty however omnipresent corruption. Lack of jobs with content material, safety and dignity. Sufficient meals now that the extra munificent Covid-era free meals has been substituted with a restricted free provide of rations.

As is obvious, none of those are native points. What ought to fear the BJP is that these points have a nationwide resonance, with progress persevering with to be jobless, welfare spending as a share of GDP down throughout channels together with MNREGA, well being and schooling, and the widening revenue disparity. In Karnataka, the Congress’s subregion-wise seat share was the best within the poorest areas. This proof of financial ache among the many poor translating into political anger will fear the BJP essentially the most, for it may simply play out on the nationwide degree, as journalist Roshan Kishore has argued.

In Karnataka, the Congress struck a chord with its 5 guarantees – 200 models of electrical energy free to all households; Rs 2,000 per thirty days to all households headed by girls; Rs 3,000 per thirty days to unemployed graduates and Rs 1,500 to diploma holders; 10 kg of rice free per individual to the poorest households, and free bus rides for girls. Not surprisingly, it gained the bigger chunk of underclass votes throughout the state, reducing throughout castes and communities, reaffirming the resilience of the Ahinda mannequin (a Kannada acronym for Alpasankhyataru or minorities, Hindulidavaru or backward lessons, and Dalitaru or Dalits) first customary by Devaraj Urs within the Nineteen Seventies.

However the Congress ought to know – and Rahul Gandhi should know – that the actual problem in India’s political economic system is creating sustainable livelihoods for the tens of millions who’re unemployed or, extra generally, underemployed. The CSDS-Lokniti Karnataka survey additionally confirmed that unemployment was a much bigger problem for 30% of the respondents this time, up 10 occasions from 2018. Certainly, this jobs deficit continues to canine India’s economic system after the 1991 liberalisation-induced progress spurt, made worse by the Covid-induced slowdown and disruption. 

Karnataka affords a palpable instance of the economic system’s unequal progress and its political consequence, as Narendar Pani, Dean of Social Sciences at Bengaluru’s Nationwide Institute of Superior Research, has highlighted.

The per capita revenue of the Bangalore sub-region is sort of Rs 400,000 every year, 4 occasions that of the poorest areas within the state, Hyderabad-Karnataka and Bombay-Karnataka. As Pani has famous, within the 28 seats of Bengaluru which have benefited from the BJP’s growth-at-any-cost mannequin, the get together noticed an increase of almost 50% within the seats it gained. In the remainder of Karnataka, which paid the worth of the mannequin, the BJP noticed its seats drop to almost half its 2018 tally. As he pithily concludes: “The professional-poor political technique of Congress would thus depend upon its capacity to generate an efficient progress technique that’s extra delicate to its social prices. It will cut back the necessity for subsidies, even because it will increase the assets to supply them. Congress has to discover a progress technique that enables participation of individuals exterior the tech capital.” It hardly must be underlined that this prescription isn’t just for Karnataka’s economic system.

In the meantime, what ought to the BJP be seeing within the wanting glass? Vaman Acharya, a Karnataka BJP spokesperson, was candid about the place the get together had gone improper – within the dilution of its ideology. As Acharya wrote in an op-ed: “The BJP earlier prided itself on being the ‘get together with a distinction’. It stood out for its ideology of nationalism, idealism and recent considering. The inclusion within the get together of individuals with various backgrounds, together with these with robust ideological variations, diluted the ideological dedication.” Acharya didn’t identify it, however his reference was to Operation Lotus, the time period utilized by the Opposition to explain the BJP’s political engineering to wrest energy in states like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

However it is usually true that it’s the Savarkar-brand Hindutva that fires the one ideological dedication of the Sangh Parivar that this authorities has pursued above all its commitments – that of constructing India a de facto Hindu Rashtra, albeit on the premise of the favored vote. In direction of that goal, the get together’s proponents even have the required prescription after the Karnataka setback – Hindutva plus governance plus native join. Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh and Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam are their excellent state examples of the nationwide Modi mannequin of capturing the creativeness of the biggest part of the citizens, the Hindus – Yogi for his “regulation and order” platform and Himanta for enjoying up the specter of “immigrants”.

One suspects the final word battle of the soul of the nation might be between syncretic Hinduism and the extra aggressive Hindutva.

(Ajay Kumar is a senior journalist. He’s former Managing Editor, Enterprise Commonplace and former Govt Editor, The Financial Occasions.)

Disclaimer: These are the non-public opinions of the creator.

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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