Express news service
BENGALURU: Janata Dal Secular’s polling strategy for the October 30 polls is likely the model for her 2023 rally campaign in Karnataka. The party has adopted the strategy of “appeasing Muslims by putting in place members of the community,” as the rival parties have pointed out. The minority factor played a key role, and the elections are likely to see a polarized campaign.
The JDS fielded Muslim candidates in Hanagal and Sindagi constituencies, and continued to attack the RSS, with the aim of attracting minority votes. As Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai takes a radical Hindutva stance, Karnataka is likely to be drawn deeply into a secular versus communal debate in the 2023 elections. The JDS is not ready to be a silent spectator , and will strive to make the most of such polarization, which will benefit Congress.
According to a survey conducted by a private agency, 5 million young Muslims across India are as active as pro-Hindu groups on social media, and well aware of all the issues. JDS leaders, who got wind of it, have already launched an anti-SSR campaign, and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda reportedly called his goodwill for the RSS “false.” Whatever the outcome of the polls, the party will seek to target 123 seats and give Muslims at least 10 tickets.
Recognizing a Muslim leader, Nasir Hussain Ustad, from Kalaburagi, which has a large population of Muslims, and even running him in the Kalaburagi North 2018 parliamentary election, helped the party perform better in the recent civic body elections. Gowda favors congressional support in municipal elections.
“Whatever the consequences, we will preserve our secular credentials. The party is ready to recognize the Muslim leadership and even give the opportunity to challenge,” MLC KA Tippeswamy said.