Congress rakes up Kannada pride

Congress rakes up Kannada pride
Highlights: 
The move is seen as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's master plan to counter the BJP's communal narrative
BJP, on its part, did make some noise stating it was nothing but a political gimmick.

In a well-planned strategy drawn up much ahead of the Assembly polls, the ruling Congress raked up issues such as regional identity and Kannada pride in order to counter the BJP's nationalist agenda.

Be it the issues like primacy to the Kannada language, having a 'Naada Dhwaja' (state flag), or the 'injustice' meted to the state in getting Central grants, the Congress started early to build the momentum to take the BJP head-on.

The move is seen as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's master plan to counter the BJP's communal narrative. Today, regional identity and Kannada pride issues top the agenda in the Congress' campaign blueprint in the run-up to the polls. The party hopes that its strategy would convert into votes.

It all began last year when the Congress raised the pitch to assert primacy to Kannada language and arguing strongly for the state to have its own flag. In a move timed to coincide with the countdown for the announcement of the calendar of events for the polls, the State Cabinet gave its nod for having the Karnataka flag, saying it was an emblem of regional identity and that it was the right of states under the federal structure.

The state government has now put the ball in the Centre's court, urging it to include the State flag in the schedule of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1950.

The BJP, on its part, did make some noise stating it was nothing but a political gimmick. But, the party was definitely caught off guard.

Again much to the discomfort of the BJP, the Congress used the resentment against the perceived imposition of Hindi on the state as an issue of Kannada pride and identity, to gain a political mileage. Siddaramaiah wrote to the Centre seeking the removal of Hindi signage in Namma Metro stations.

The Congress has also been blaming the BJP for not heeding repeated requests to amend the Constitution to make regional languages the medium of instruction in primary schools.

Federal grants and devolution of central taxes have also become poll issues. In a recent Facebook post, Siddaramaiah wrote, "Historically, South has been subsidising the North. Six southern states contribute more taxes and get less in return. For every one rupee of tax contributed by Uttar Pradesh, the state receives Rs 1.79. But Karnataka gets just 47 paise for every rupee of tax it contributes."

 

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