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It’s Karnataka chalo for Amit Shah?

With the win in Gujarat, it is Karnataka Chalo for Amit Shah and his storm troopers. State party leaders have for some months now not cared to conceal their hunger for power. After all, the party ruled the state before the Congress recaptured it five years ago. From former chief minister Yeddyurappa to the last Bhajrang Dal activist in distant Mangaluru, the focus for the past year and more has been the recapture of the lost seat of power at the Vidhan Soudha. Ever alert and always on the prowl for any perceived deviation by the Congress and its government, the BJP has kept politics on the boil. Any and every issue was fodder for its anti-government campaign, from letting court-mandated Cauvery water to 

Tamil Nadu and observing Tippu Sultan anniversary to pot-holed roads in the capital and new year celebrations. The latest feather in the state unit’s cap was the successful protest against the participation of a Hindi film actress in a dance programme to usher in the new year. 

The Congress, under chief minister Siddharamaiah, has not been found wanting. In fact, Siddhu has kept the party one step ahead of the rival by sponsoring causes that brought the maximum embarrassment to the BJP such as the Lingayat reservation issue. His smiling visage is out there every day in newspaper ads, promising largesse for every conceivable group and community. Not a day passes without his inaugurating a project, launching a welfare scheme or paying obeisance to one mutt head or the other. Unlike the BJP which is riven by open feuding, the Congress has been operating smoothly, with the legislators working in close harmony with the organisation wing. 

Campaigning for the summer elections to the Assembly has started in earnest, with Amit Shah losing no time to descend on the northern Karnataka headquarters of Hubballi. The run-up has seen several acts of intolerance by the saffron armies in the coastal districts. Some of the violence has resulted in fatalities. As the climate hots up, there will undoubtedly be more evidence of bitterness between the two sides neither of which looks a sure winner at this time. Much is at stake for both parties, especially for the Congress under its young new president and there is no reason why Karnataka’s record of a peaceful election will be besmirched in 2018. – KVK 

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