‘Focus on social welfare programs:’ BJP lays out sounding board for its K’taka unit | bangalore
The central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has tasked its Karnataka unit with ensuring that the development and success of the state government in implementing social welfare programs remains the main voting board in the 2023 assembly elections.
A message asking to refrain from stirring up controversies on issues that may be perceived as polarizing the electorate was also conveyed to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was in the nation’s capital for a two-day visit this week, said party officials familiar with the details.
“The central leadership is of the opinion that the party will gain nothing in the upcoming elections if it remains focused on controversies and issues that seem to target minorities. This was also conveyed to the state leadership at a central committee meeting addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah last week,” one of the officials added. of the party, asking not to be named.
Central leaders are of the view that the BJP’s return to power in recent elections in four states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – was largely due to welfare policies and development work led by governments of the respective states.
“There is a small constituency that wants the party to take a hard line and insist on banning hijab in schools and not mandating halal certified meat in institutions and restaurants. The impact of focusing on development outweighs the result of easing the feelings of this small community,” said a second official on condition of anonymity.
While Muslims are upset over issues such as the hijab ban and halal certification, Christians have also criticized the government over the anti-conversion bill and the purpose of operating churches ostensibly to check people’s lives. alleged illegal and forced conversions, the official added.
Since Bommai took office as the state’s chief minister last year, the state has passed a controversial anti-conversion bill, issued an ordinance effectively banning the wearing of hijab in college schools and quietly endorsed the campaign against halal meat as well as the campaign against the use of loudspeakers in mosques. During this period, several party leaders made comments that were not well received by the central party leadership.
Bommai, who was in the nation’s capital to discuss the upcoming cabinet reshuffle in the state, told reporters outside parliament that when it comes to loudspeakers in mosques, the government is only enforcing a order of the Karnataka High Court, issued on January 11, 2021. But there is a feeling in many sections of the party that many issues could have been handled better.
“Central management believes that the issue of banning hijab in schools should have been handled sensitively and not snowballed into controversy. Now that the matter is pending, party leaders hope the BJP will not bear the brunt of public anger,” the Karnataka-based official quoted above said.
On March 15, a full bench of the Karnataka High Court declared that wearing the hijab is not compulsory in Islam. He upheld the state government’s headscarf ban in schools and colleges through a Feb. 5 executive order that led to massive protests and counter-protests across the state. and in several other cities across the country. The order was challenged in the Supreme Court.
The central leadership has also given the go-ahead for a reshuffle in the state cabinet to oppose the ruling opposition, a senior party official in Delhi said on condition of anonymity. The central management would have preferred to have new faces on the council but given the caste arithmetic in the state, a “Gujarat-like change will not be made”, the person added.
Ahead of this year’s elections in Gujarat, the central leadership changed the chief minister and the entire council of ministers.
“Central management is keen on having leaders who are seen as inclusive and non-controversial,” the Delhi-based leader said.
A BJP leader in Karnataka said Shah was also opposed to a suggestion to club Karnataka’s elections with those of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat due to be held later this year. The Union Minister urged party workers to use the time to speed up the party’s expansion and preparations at the pits, the leader said on condition of anonymity.
In the 2018 state elections, the BJP emerged as the largest party with 104 seats out of 224 assembly members, but it is an alliance of Congress (80 seats) and JD-S (37) who formed the government. However, in 2019, following a wave of Congress defections to the BJP, the latter formed the government under BS Yediyurappa. In July 2021, it disappears in favor of Bommai.