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Who will win the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections?
Karnataka Assembly elections are around the corner. Opinion polls have been published. Only one predicts a Congress win. Others predict a hung house with JD (S) being the king maker. The news channels are full of it. Opinions are also being expressed in newspapers.

Through this article, I am also going to add to the noise. But before I come to my reasoned prediction, I have a few declarations to make. Those who watch business channels will know that any expert giving his advice on purchase or sale of a stock is asked to declare if he has any interest in the stock. It helps listeners to factor in any bias in the recommendations. My declarations will enable my readers to understand my prediction. 

Declarations

Many of my readers believe that I am a Congress supporter. I declare that I am not. It is true that I have said many times that India is independent because Congress led the fight for it. Hindu Mahasabha, Muslim League, Communists and RSS were all against independence. It is also true that I have said that India is a world power because of the vision of Nehru ji, Shashtri ji, Indira ji, Rajeev ji and Vajpayee ji. What is forgotten is that I have also written many times that the Congress is responsible for all that is wrong with the country like all pervasive corruption, nepotism, crony capitalism, bank loot etc. I support any party that is willing to preserve and protect the socialist, secular and federal content of our Constitution and will work to bring amity, peace and prosperity to India.

Some of my readers also believe that I am a Modi hater. That is not true. I have voted for the BJP four times from 1999 to 2004 because I thought BJP stood for "Swadeshi", Ram Mandir, Common Civil Code and deletion of Article 370. It turned out that the BJP did not stand for "Swadeshi". I have turned against the BJP for reasons which I will elaborate in later part of this article.

I am a staunch Hindu and supporter of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. I pray to Hindu Gods every day. In my book, "Introduction to Religions of the World" (published by Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi) I have brought out that Hindu religion is indestructible. Muslims conquered Iran and 90 per cent converted to Islam in 100 days. Muslims could convert only 12 per cent Hindus to Islam in 700 years. Many Hindus converted of their own free will to escape the stigma of their caste. Europeans converted 90 per cent of the population of Mexico and South America to Christianity in a century. The British could convert only 3 per cent Hindus to Christianity in 200 years of rule. Many were impressed by the missionaries and converted of their own free will in the North East and other tribal areas. Brahmins of Kerala converted to Christianity of their own free will to enjoy political patronage as did the Bahamani Sultans of Deccan. I also support building Ram Mandir at Ayodhta and wrote an article on the same. If Mecca can be holy for Muslims and Jerusalem can be Holy for Christians, Muslims and Jews, why can't Ayodhya be holy for Hindus? How many know that Hindu religion is exclusive and not inclusive. A Hindu who converts to another religion can be reconverted and allotted his original caste, but a non Hindu cannot be converted to be a Hindu because he cannot be given a caste. Anyone can be a practicing Hindu. Many foreigners are practicing Hindus. 

I am not influenced by views of others. I think things from basics and decide issues on merit as I understand them.

Why I dislike the BJP?

The DNA of the BJP is defective. BJP is the progeny of the Jana Sangh which was created by joint efforts of Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS. Both parents were staunchly against secularism and socialism. Hindu Mahasabha wanted the upper caste Hindus to rule a feudal India. The RSS stood for Akhand Bharat and Hindutva. Both did not believe in democracy which means one person one vote. How can the caste Hindu be equated with Dalits and tribals who have been their servants for millenniums?

The RSS created the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and various other fringe groups to further their agenda of making India a Hindu nation and substitute the diversity of India with Hindutva. I consider RSS' agenda to be regressive and a threat to peace and prosperity of India. It took a high handed use of excessive force against a peaceful anti-government Arab Spring protests in Syria in 2013 to start a civil war that has reduced a prosperous Syria into ruins in seven years with over 350,000 dead and over 7 million displaced from their homes. I do not want India to go the way of Syria.

The transition from anti independence to hyper nationalism and anti minority stance of the Hindutva brigade is worrisome. Hinduism is not open or progressive. Zero was discovered in India but not used or taught. The Muslims took the concept to Baghdad from where it went to the West. There is no world renowned Hindu university like Buddhist Nalanda. India with its vast diversity needs integration by the model provided by the armed forces, through mutual respect, tolerance and participation in each other's social and religious practises and not through vigilantism, moral policing and other forms of intolerance.

The BJP does not walk the talk on corruption. Modi ji said, "Na Khaunga, na Khane dunga." What is the reality on ground? Every pillar against corruption is being demolished. Four years was not enough to appoint Lok Pal, fill up vacancies of Laokayukts. No efforts are being made to fill up vacancies of judges and in investigating agencies so that cases can be disposed off speedily. Efforts are being made to dilute the RTI Act which highlights corruption and to gag the press so that they cannot expose corruption. The Whistle Blowers Act and Protection of Witness Act have been put on the back burner. Known corrupt politicians are given tickets to contest elections. Is this the way to fight corruption?

The BJP does not walk the talk on other issues like the SC/ST Act and Beti Bachao. Atrocities against the Dalits and lynching of minorities are most prevalent in BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. SC/ST Act was allowed to be diluted. Cosmetic efforts are being made to appeal against the SC's ruling for electoral considerations. Modi ji says, "Beti Bachao". Who will protect the girl child? The police do not register FIRs, take money and put pressure on complainants to compromise. No action is taken against them.

Raped girls, if not murdered, are now being forced to attempt self immolation in front of police stations and homes or offices of political leaders to seek justice. Upper castes and politically connected culprits assault the hapless victims and their families and kill and intimidate witnesses who are defenceless. Leaders say that justice will be done and culprits will be punished. But what is the result? A DNA test which proves who the rapist is takes 15 days. Yet cases linger on for years till all witnesses are compromised. Who cares? For the Hindutva brigade, a woman is still a "thing" and not a person. They blame the woman for being raped.

The BJP does not stand for women's rights, though, the RSS and the BJP may be against triple talaq, they are also against inter religious and inter caste marriages which is against the fundamental rights of adult women. They are also against women dressing as they like, partying, going out with boyfriends etc. This kind of moral policing and honour killings are totally unacceptable. We all have the right to do our own thing as long as it is within the law of the land.

What is in favour of the Congress in Karnataka?

Rahul Gandhi's efforts to energise grass root Congress supporters.

What is against the Congress

?         Unwillingness or inability to form alliance with JD (S) possibly due to over confidence. Importance of opposition unity has been repeatedly demonstrated in electoral contests against the BJP. But it does not seem to have sunk into Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal.

?         Incumbency. Anti incumbency is always a factor.

?         Unashamed nepotism in ticket allocation to kin of ministers which will create rebels and lead to loss in some constituencies.

?         AAP contesting will divide the anti BJP vote and help the BJP. AAP and Congress coming together helped them shut the BJP out of Punjab and Delhi but that will not happen.

What is in favour of the BJP?

Money power

What is against the BJP?

?         Caste battle with Lingayats

?         Dalit and minority vote

?         Petrol price, unemployment and moral policing

?         Corrupt CM candidate and Reddy family of Bellary make mockery of clean image

My prediction 

The vote of the English speaking minority is irrelevant in all except a handful of closely fought urban constituencies. It is difficult for me to know whether the Congress' campaigning or the BJP's campaigning is more effective. It is difficult to predict how the ordinary people, particularly women and first timers will vote. The most likely result is that the Congress will be the single largest party but the BJP will use its money power and form the government along with the JD (S) as they have done in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya. The Congress will form the government on its own. The BJP will come third if women can be convinced not to vote for them.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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