Karnataka polls: Progressive thinkers, writers launch campaign to vote BJP out

‘Let's not miss this opportunity... Let's not let Karnataka slip into darkness again,’ says a printed appeal

progressive thinkers_yeddelu_karnataka
A group of progressive thinkers and writers have urged voters in Karnataka to oust the BJP government.

Saying enough is enough, a group of progressive-minded thinkers and writers have appealed to voters in Karnataka to oust the BJP government, saying it has unleashed corruption and hate politics in the state over the last four years.

They have launched a movement called ‘Eddelu Karnataka’ (Wake Up Karnataka) and linked the upcoming Assembly elections with the larger fate of India: “We must take up the task of preserving the nation’s identity, heritage, life and future.”

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At the forefront of the campaign are veteran writers, academics and activists, including Devanur Mahadeva, Purushothama Bilimale, Kamala Hampana, Rahmat Tarikere, Vijaya, Professor A.R. Vasavi, Allamaprabhu Bettadur, Du Gu Saraswati, former labour Minister S K Kanta, former minister H Ekantiah, environment expert Tara Rao and Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya.

Backing them are members of the “Bharat Jodo Abhiyan” including Vijay Mahajan and Yogendra Yadav.

“Let’s not miss this opportunity… Let’s not let Karnataka slip into darkness again,” says an appeal issued by the movement, which the ruling BJP says is a front aimed at indirectly helping the Congress.

Earlier campaign

Writers and thinkers, including the late Prof UR Anantha Murthy and Devanur Mahadeva, had in 2012-13 launched a similar movement against the then BJP government.

“In today’s suffocating toxic political environment, the coming elections will decide whether our country can take a long breath and recover,” a statement put out by the group said. “In the last four years, Karnataka has seen the worst days in its post-independence history.

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“The government that seized power despite the absence of a popular vote has only brought downfall to this country,” the statement said.

Radhamma K, a volunteer of the group, said volunteers would reach the grassroots with the idea of a harmonious Karnataka. She said that one of the main goals of the campaign was to preserve the spirit of the Constitution.

The statement went on: “This extortionate government must be defeated first. Then fight with the victors for the restoration of the common good. This is the process of maintaining democracy. We must take up the task of preserving the nation’s identity, heritage, life and future.

“This campaign to save the state by leaving the bonds of party, organization, caste and religion is a ray of hope…”

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Harsh words

The statement did not mince words on what the activists thought of the BJP regime: “Double loot from double engine government, unimaginable corruption, deadly price hikes, daylight robbery in the name of education-health, serial acts that orphan the working people, unemployment strangling the dreams of the youth, market depression, skyrocketing debts, rampant rape, repression and social conflicts, rising inter-caste tension, inflaming religiosity, hatred — all these are the fruits of this government’s rule.”

Said Du Gu Saraswathi: “The people of the state have an opportunity to bring Karnataka out of this tragic situation. Elections are coming. Our main goal is to defeat this government rather than who comes to power.

“And then with the winning party, we must continue our struggle for the restoration of people’s rights – a process that protects democracy. It is very necessary for the future of the state and the people. This is a realistic and responsible duty before the civil society of Karnataka today.”

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The statement said there was tremendous resentment among the people against the ruling party.

“This discontent needs to be converted into political awareness. Civil society has to step forward for this task… The work of preserving the identity, heritage, life and future of the state should be undertaken.

“People have to be convinced through simple and popular narratives – Enough is enough, it’s time to wake up.” the statement said. “The state needs to leave aside the boundaries of party, organization, caste and religion.

Volunteer and in-charge of the campaign Sandip K, who is also an advocate, told The Federal that the campaign has already started in some districts.

“This movement is based on only volunteers. We have plans to go to each household in various districts and try to bring awareness about the present situation in politics in Karnataka. Devanuru Mahadeva-like personalities will also join in some places. We have already started workshops about this campaign in several places,” he said.