Bengaluru, July 24: Before the BJP became a potential party to reckon with, there was a political equilibrium in Karnataka, where people saw Congress and JDS tasting powers now and then.
After BJP started to lay claim to power in the last 15 years, the political equilibrium has been disturbed, hence the state has witnessed hung assemblies without any surprises.
The saffron party is able to reach close to halfway mark, but not clear majority to rule the state on its own in 225-seat strong assembly.
In 2008, B S Yeddyurappa had to do operation lotus to get the additional votes. He almost did the same in 2018 when no parties got majority.
The Congress and JDS, on the other hand, have the ability to stop each other, but in a hung assembly situation, they come together to keep the BJP away from power.
BJP also faces the challenge of varied voting patterns in different regions of the state, apart from dealing with the issue of unsettled political equilibrium.
The state has five regions – Mumbai-Karnataka, Hyderabad-Karnataka, Coastal Karnataka, Bengaluru urban and Mysuru, which boasts of unique voting patterns, different from each other.
The BJP is strong in Mumbai-Karnataka, Bengaluru urban and Coastal Karnataka, but are yet to make a decisive inroads in Hyderabad-Karnataka and Mysuru regions.
Unless BJP wrests one more region into its kitty, it will be difficult for it to get a clear political mandate in future.
So, what is the formula BJP must work on to get clear mandate?
Probably, the answer lies in Narendra Modi-Amit Shah’s social engineering mantra to create a “united spectrum of Hindu votes (USHV)” to consolidate Hindutva among subaltern castes.
The USHV mantra had worked wonders, both in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections for BJP. This is very much reflected in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party won, despite caste-based political parties – Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party – formed gathbandhan to take on BJP.
Contrary to cliched liberal discourse that Hindutva alienates, it actually integrates Hindus, regardless of many castes and communities in the Hindu fold.
Hindutva has always been a unifying factor, but was not realised even by several of its votaries in post-Savarkar period.
It has also always been appealing to a large Dalit and OBC castes as it promises to liberate them from the narrow identity of a weaker caste, which was quite evident even during 18th century Bhakti Movement, which provided an alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s caste of birth or gender.
In fact, Hindutva appealed the most to subaltern castes during Ram Janambhoomi movement, when all castes and communities came into one Hindu fold.
Apart from promising liberation for subaltern castes from the identity of weaker caste, Hindutva also provides them protection from Muslim aggression, unlike the psuedo-liberals and Lutyens brigade, who often dump them in such an eventuality.
With the massive mandate BJP receiving in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it is clear that subaltern expression of Hindutva has already gained ground, and it is for the BJP, not to miss the opportunity in Karnataka to work towards getting a clear mandate in future elections.