Karnataka: BJP worried as discourse veers away from Hindutva | Bengaluru News

BENGALURU: Worried since the narrative has shifted from Hindutva to corruption in high offices in an election year, the BJP is said to be working on a new strategy and, if some insiders are to be believed , the party brass in Delhi is even contemplating drastic steps and “major surgery” for the government.
While chief minister Basavaraj Bommai is seeking the high command’s nod to rejig the cabinet, sources suggest the party leadership is likely to use it as an opportunity to send out a strong message to all stakeholders. It is likely to remove functionaries with a questionable public image in key offices and replace them with fresh faces, both in the government and party organisation.
“With PM Narendra Modi ensuring a clean government at the Centre and given the party’s USP of zero tolerance for corruption, naturally states ruled by our party should emulate it,” said Lahar Singh Siroya, senior BJP functionary and MLC. “Anything related to corruption will be dealt with stern action as the endeavour is to establish a corruption-free regime in the state.”
Accusations of corruption are being levelled by various sections against the government and the BJP is worried that it will turn the tide at a time when the Hindutva narrative built around issues like the hijab row had apparently given an edge to the party.
Besides civil contractors accusing the government and government officials of pocketing 40% kickback on infrastructure projects, alleged irregularities in recruiting police sub-inspectors and assistant professors have put the government on the defensive. The issue appeared to come to a head when Sri Dingaleshwar Swami, seer of Balehosur Mutt, a prominent mutt in Gadag district, at a public event, accused the government of taking a 30% commission on grants announced to mutts. Lingayats are generally considered the BJP’s support base in the state.
This accusation stung, since it came in the wake of the resignation of senior minister KS Eshwarappa over a contractor’s suicide. The contractor had accused Eshwarappa of refusing to clear bills to the tune of Rs 4 crore and his department officials of demanding a 40% commission. Eshwarappa has denied the charge.
Another development which has got the BJP bothered is the Aam Aadmi Party’s strong push in the poll scenario. At a rally in Bengaluru, AAP supremo Arvind Kejrwal had given a clarion call to voters to “replace the 40% commission government” and promised “a 0% commission” regime.
Prithvi Reddy, AAP’s Karnataka state convener, said: “BJP will still try hard to build a Hindutva narrative, but corruption will be the main issue in this assembly election.” Congress functionaries agree, saying they have been receiving a “good response” to the party’s statewide agitation on corruption in the government. “The corruption issue has struck a chord with people as the accusations have come from genuine stakeholders like civil contractors and mutt pontiffs,” said BL Shankar, KPCC vice-president. “It is neither a media expose nor a political party making wild allegations so obviously it has become a people’s issue.”
BJP functionaries admit the party leadership is aware of the repercussions and it will have a series of brainstorming sessions with local functionaries to evolve a fresh strategy. “Besides countering corruption charges and establishing a graft-free regime, the party will go back to its nationalist Hindutva narrative without allowing communal clashes. An action plan will soon be drawn up,” said a senior BJP functionary

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