Elections come and elections go. A government lasts five years at the most. But our civilization, our nation and our culture is forever.
So why do I say that there were two giant positives for Hindu unity coming out of Karnataka elections?
Well, since time immemorial, we Hindus have always taken the bait. We have fallen apart for the smallest of reasons, fought among ourselves and always let the invader get a free pass. Once the British left, the Congress internalized this lesson and used it to keep India under the boot. No matter that the whole world progressed for 40 years while India was left in the dust. The Congress was always able to play off one caste against the other because we Hindus were suckers for it every single time.
Then came RTE, the grandest of all the Trojan horses, a great evil even by the standards of the Sonia led UPA government. As many commenters noted even at the time, it was a plan to tie the hands and feet of Hindu institutions and put them at a competitive disadvantage versus those run by a minority, usually belonging to an Abrahamic faith.
Here is one question that needs to be resolved. Why did RTE appear only in the Sonia led UPA era? Why did the Congress not think of this anti-Hindu measure before, back in the days when it used to have 300-400 Lok Sabha seats?
Because the RTE was a response to the growing prosperity of Hindus in India. For most of the history of independent India, Nehruvian socialism kept Hindus completely impoverished. As such, other than a handful of venerable exceptions, Hindus never had the money power to run their own institutions.
But the economy fell apart and the nation became ungovernable in 1991. The fruit of 40 years of Nehruvian socialism. Economic reforms happened. In the new India, slowly but surely, Hindus began to prosper for the first time in one thousand years.
By 2004, the writing was on the wall. The Congress may have actually gained from the BJP’s premature “India shining” campaign, but there was no denying India’s rise as a nation on the world stage. The time had come. It was only a matter of time before India became a superpower. They knew it. We knew it. I think everybody in the world believes it now.
By sheer force of numbers, it was manifest that most of the wealth in this shining new superpower would lie with the Hindus. This new India would need no ricebags from abroad. And Hindus would be dominant, Hindu institutions would be dominant.
Hence, RTE. To chain the bird before it flies the cage. And it was packaged as a Teflon coated “pro-poor” measure. As a political tactic, simply brilliant.
But the RTE had yet another sting in its tail. There was yet more firepower in the belly of the Trojan horse. Not only could RTE be used to clamp down the Hindus, it could also be used to hold them hostage. The RTE could be used as a bargaining chip. The Congress could promise smaller Hindu communities freedom from the shackles of RTE, on condition that they renounce their Hindu identity.
This extra sting in the tail of RTE was revealed for the first time in the Congress Party’s Karnataka strategy.
If the Congress’ Lingayat card had worked, there is no doubt that it would have been deployed nationwide. One by one, piece by piece, thread by thread, the Congress would have taken apart the entire Hindu Samaj.
As a Hindu, I owe the Lingayats a huge debt of gratitude. They saw through the trick. They understood exactly what the Congress was doing and why it deserved to be punished. Instead of splitting the Lingayat vote, the Congress set off unprecedented Hindu solidarity among them.
Sure, the Congress may still use this card elsewhere and Hindus may fall for it. But for the moment, the Congress has learned a lesson they will remember.
So that was the first positive for Hindu unity in Karnataka elections. Where did the other one come from?
It came from Coastal Karnataka. The place had been ground zero for the massacre of RSS/BJP workers by cadres of secular outfits. Egged on by liberal intellectuals in Delhi, the Congress never saw the anti-incumbency wave in any other region of the state. One of the most “reputed” polling organizations gave the Congress Party a staggering 47% vote share, a lead of 17% over the BJP.
But in Coastal Karnataka, the anger was all too visible on the ground. I bet even CSDS could have foreseen it. What was the Congress going to do about it?
Well, Siddaramaiah thought he had yet another ace up his sleeve. Being the much celebrated “folk hero” of Karnataka (as numero uno analyst Rajdeep Sardesai referred to him shortly before elections), he couldn’t bear to lose in Coastal Karnataka.
The Muslim outfit SDPI …. oh, excuse me, the secular outfit SDPI decided to sit out the election in Coastal Karnataka where it has a sizeable influence. It was evident that the entire ‘secular vote’ would be freed up to go tactically against the BJP.
There is a reason analysts thought that the BJP was toast in Coastal Karnataka. As usual, they thought Hindus would split their votes, while peaceful communities would consolidate theirs.
In keeping with its strategy of too clever by half, the Congress denied that there was an alliance between them and SDPI. The proof? The SDPI decided to put up three random candidates against the Congress in three random seats where it had no influence. One was even in Bengaluru (LOL)! The aim was to convince Hindus that there is no alliance between the ‘secular’ Congress and the Muslim SDPI.
The trap was fully set for Hindus to get crushed under the Trojan horse. And then a miracle happened.
In most of Coastal Karnataka, the BJP ended up polling over 50% of the vote. Considering that Hindus account for only around 65% of the population in the area, that’s nearly 77% of the Hindu vote going to the BJP.
That’s the second giant positive for Hindu unity.
The Karnataka election also taught Rahul and Sonia other lessons. There was a complete rejection of the regional chauvinist narrative being pushed by the Congress and its ecosystem. Siddaramaiah paid dearly in the election for calling the Prime Minister of India a “North Indian import.” The people of Karnataka have shown Madam Sonia Gandhi who is their own and who is not.
The BJP may not have formed the government in Karnataka. With the Congress retaining a toehold on power, crimes against Hindus are likely to increase in the state. But, at the very least, the Hindus of Karnataka have shown the Congress that they do keep their eyes and ears open.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.