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Does BJP’s beef ad betray its desperation to win Bihar polls?

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New Delhi: Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s staunch critics would second him when he, during his whirlwind election rallies, aptly emphasizes that development ought to be the way forward for India and Hindus and Muslims, instead of fighting each other, should wage a war against poverty.

‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas (development for all)’ is the motto of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Well, who doesn’t want development?

But, alas, there seems to be a dichotomy between the thoughts and actions of the ruling party and the Prime Minister. For, while PM Modi talks of ‘vikas’ in Bihar to woo potential and existing voters, the BJP seeks to polarize the society along the lines of religion by placing full-page advertisements in leading newspapers featuring a girl hugging a cow and lashing out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on his “silence” over statements made by his allies on beef just on the eve of the final phase of Bihar assembly polls.

This apparent attempt to polarize Bihar by the leading party to score political points over the Grand Alliance in an election that is being seen as a verdict on PM Modi’s 17 months in power reeks of nothing but the desperation to win the polls, by hook or by crook.

Beef has always been a sensitive issue for India’s Hindus and Jains because the Holy cow is revered as ‘mother’. But what is condemnable is to seek votes in its name by pitting one community against another, thus sowing the seeds of hatred among people who, more or less, have same issues.

I am a non-vegetarian Hindu and I have never had beef in my life nor do I intend to have it in the future. But that’s my choice. At the same time, it will be sheer hypocrisy on my part if I, despite being a non-vegetarian, condemned someone for having beef. What others eat and believe should be none of my concern in a democratic country like India.

But beef is no more about the religious aspect of the populace; rather it has quietly, with intended negativity, wandered into the cheap political theatrics.

Doesn’t polarization help when it comes to polls? Oh yes, it does. It surely does, in every single election. Can anyone deny that there was polarization in Gujarat following 2002 riots? Can anyone dispute the fact that incidents like Muzaffarnagar riots polarized people in Uttar Pradesh before Lok Sabha polls?

Bihar has a literacy rate of 63.82% and has long been considered among the ‘bimaru’ states. Verily, there is no dearth of issues that people of Bihar face be it unemployment, poverty, ignorance, lack of good roads, schools, and hospitals. And it was expected that just one day prior to the day of voting, the leading parties in the fray would talk about the real issues. But, it is a pity that the ruling party, rather than talking of the ways to deal with the abovementioned problems chose to spread hatred in the name of Holy cow and thus indulged in the politics of polarization.

Is this a ploy to influence an uneducated person’s uncultivated mind? An educated youth of Bihar, I am convinced is mature enough to make his choice but what of the former. Arousing his passions and love for the religion could just do the trick.

In the words of Karl Marx,

“Religion is the opium of the masses.”

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)