By Sandhya Ravishankar
Congress candidate for Babaleshwar and former Karnataka minister MB Patil seems to be nervous. And in his anxiety to find a narrative and make it stick, Patil launched a thinly veiled attack on the Brahmin community in Karnataka in a series of tweets.
BY Vijayendra, Shikharipura candidate of the BJP and Yediyurappa’s son, hit back at Patil, calling out his casteist comments.
Lingayats vs Brahmins: Will It Work?
Patil’s attempt at dividing Lingayats and positioning them against the Brahmins is not likely to work.
JDS leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also attempted to widen divisions between Liingayats and Brahmins, earlier in the campaign.
“RSS is contemplating that Pralhad Joshi should be made the next CM of Karnataka after the elections. Pralhad Joshi is not from the Brahmin community that belongs to Dakshin Karnataka, but he (Joshi) belongs to the Brahmin community which split the Sringeri Mutt,” Kumaraswamy had said on April 05, 2023.
Later he clarified that he respected Brahmins and that he had referred only to Pralhad Joshi.
This comment by Kumaraswamy sent ripples within the Lingayat community, forcing the BJP to quell the fears of the Lingayats with a media blitzkrieg led by Yediyurappa.
After Jagadish Shettar and Lakshman Savadi went over to the Congress, the BJP once again brought in the undisputed leader of Lingayats to attack them.
Yediyurappa held a press meet lambasting Shettar and Savadi and warning them that he would personally campaign against both and ensure that they were defeated.
However, MB Patil’s comments are not likely to have an impact on the Lingayat voter. In fact, sources close to MB Patil say that he had approached the BJP to join them but that he did not find them welcoming.
The Congress has been struggling to create narratives and make them stick in the minds of the electorate. From 40% Sarkara and PayCM to Yediyurappa being sidelined by the BJP to Lingayats versus Brahmins, all narratives have failed to take off.
2023 remains a local and micro election, limited to constituency-specific issues, without a larger pan-Karnataka narrative.
And it is in candidate selection that the victor eventually lies.