Karnataka Elections: Nanga Nach

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With every speech, remark and tweet, the levels of personal abuse see new vituperative highs. Strangely, leading the pack are the very people who should rightly, at least be seen across the board as setting an example of good governance and exemplary behavior rather than wordy abuse. But then the hallmark of not only the government in power but the entire ruling class is its creatively adept abusive wordplay. Here’s an analysis by Sreelata, exclusively for Different Truths.

The has begun. In recent years the pre-run to every election in the current scenario has been an assault on our senses and feelings of well-being. Scathing verbal onslaughts and high voltage rhetoric are the order of the day rather than the exception.  With every speech, remark and tweet, the levels of personal abuse see new vituperative highs. Strangely, leading the pack are the very people who should rightly, at least be seen across the board as setting an example of good governance and exemplary behavior rather than wordy abuse. But then the hallmark of not only the government in power but the entire ruling class is its creatively adept abusive wordplay.

Today ably assisted by a cowed down – biased – electronic media who loves to constantly fuel the abuse-fest, subtle and witty come-downs have given place to in your face theatrics and abuses that can hurt and humiliate. From the days of new governments thanking past governments for their governance whatever the inter-personal relationship, we have had the sloganeering and insulting the very chair of the PM. Remember when Dr. Man Mohan Singh was called a ‘Nikamah’? Today most political heavyweights appear to have perfected the art of abusive reprisal within parliament and without. It goes to the credit of Dr. Man Mohan Singh that he despite extreme personal provocation chooses to not react and thereby maintain his dignity.

Trumped no doubt by the oratorical skills of her own PM, Sushma Swaraj the firebrand lady provocateur is barely visible now – (having yielded place to the rather abrasive loser from Amethi as well perhaps?) other than for her tweets of lending a helping hand to stranded brethren the world over while the erstwhile patriarch of ‘Hindutva’ minus his Rath twiddles his thumbs on the sidelines – the more volatile brand having taken over.

The Karnataka elections are still a few months away – in April/May 2018 with dates yet to be announced. Yet kicking off the BJP campaign at the culmination of the ‘Parivartan’ rally, which started with a flop show in November – no time was wasted in accusing the current state government of all kinds of scams and corrupt practices forgetting no doubt that they themselves had fallen prey not long ago to that same shameful charges-with the then CM even going to jail for it. It is what had brought the Congress back to power. Obviously what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander.

So the BJP reckoning on the incumbency factor and the general dissatisfaction of the people with most civic amenities may well be on the right track when saying that the ‘Congress is at the exit gate’. What would perhaps also swing key areas for them could be the staunch ‘Hindu’ support of coastal Karnataka. The conversion of young Hindu girls by Muslim youth, who are paid to woo them is a ground reality in areas in and around the Hindu religious belt of Mangalore. Hence the groundswell of sympathetic backing for organisations likes the ‘Ram Sena’ etc.as well. This is what the BJP is attempting to tap into.

High on rhetoric and acronyms – TOP the latest for Tomato/Onion/Potato if you please – the PM seeking to ‘Build a new Congress Mukt Karnataka’ referred to Karnataka as an ‘Apradhi Raj’ and a 10% government where 10% commissions for project permissions are required. He even went so far as to say that Karnataka was popular for ‘the ease of doing murders’ rather than the ‘ease of doing businesses’. Could he have perhaps got Kerala and Karnataka mixed up? After all, both start with a K.

However, as expected it certainly did incite and invite intemperate reaction. Result: The next day’s newspapers headlined the CM’s hit back‘Modi morally unfit to be PM’ and in fact accused the hitherto perceived clean PM of even ‘Facilitating graft’. In the light of this, the question now rises should a Prime Minister be allowed to campaign for his party if the office/chair of the PM is to keep its dignity intact?

‘Where is the decency in the language Congress leaders have used for me? What did I do to deserve this? Is it my crime that the people of India have reposed their faith in me?’ The PM once tweeted, during the Gujarat elections when the Congress went to town on how the Gandhis were being constantly targeted.

Notwithstanding all that’s going wrong with the country including the demonetisation debacle, the GST fiasco or the Aadhaar controversy, Modi still remains extremely popular. Especially with that section of society that forms the core of his support group. The so-called ‘Bhakts’ or is it the troll army, who equally abusive of anything suggestive of the Congress or the -Gandhis make no bones of their absolute and blinding faith in the PM and their antipathy to the much-battered grand old party. An antipathy brought on maybe by a sense of insecurity, a common bond of inadequacy in the face of a respected lineage and a legacy that is globally accepted and acknowledged. Hence probably the continuous need to needle and ridicule. But then change is inevitable and if it came along as a shining new uncorrupted avatar with no baggage wouldn’t anybody go for it? And what better stick to hit out with than the stick of corruption-which is so rampant- despite the fact that all political parties without exception are tarred with the same tainted brush -sorry stick? 

However, the BJP might find it difficult to make allegations of corruption stick on CM Siddaramaiah at least, as he is seen by most as personally-despite the 70 lakh – incorruptible and a fearlessly straightforward leader-especially in with the previous CM. 

Considering that among all the states in the country Karnataka despite a few major drawbacks is still a forerunner in every field, CM Siddaramaiah’s retort that the ‘BJP was peddling lies to “cheat” the people of Karnataka’ seems quite in tune with the truth. ‘Bengaluru is known as a Dynamic City worldwide. But Modi accuses Karnataka of having a law & order issue. Does he know that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, both ruled by BJP, have the highest occurrences of crime in India?”

Alas sadly for us the ‘Nanga Nach’ – the naked dance – not so much of the mafias, as Modi put it, but of the political parties has only just begun. Bring on the slugfest.

©Sreelata Menon

Photos from the Internet

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Sreelata Menon

Sreelata Menon

When computers hit the scene, life changed for Sreelata Menon. A Masters in History (Mumbai University) she was with the Onlooker and world Trade Magazines before teaching History to undergraduates and doing a stint in an advertising agency. A web content writer, she wrote blogs on freelance writing, and current happenings for online and print publications. Author of ‘Freelance Writing for the Newbie Writer’ her books also include Guru Nanak and Indira Gandhi for Penguin-Puffin.
Sreelata Menon
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