The quest for power and electoral victory has become the sole priority of political parties in India, turning Indians into mere vote banks. The dreadful truth about the Indian democracy is the vote bank politics. During elections in most of the states, witness division of votes among political parties on the basis of caste, religion, ethnicity and other social groups. The affection or animosity of a particular community towards a particular party generally leads to the community voting as a bloc for or against a party. In the recently concluded Karnataka elections, such equations were clearly at play. One dominant group in Karnataka elections which had a huge bearing on the final results, were the Vokkaligas.
The Vokkaligas are the second largest community in Karnataka after the Lingayats, this shows their political significance. The Vokkaligas is primarily an agrarian community who bore the greatest share of brunt of populist and nightmarish policies under the Siddaramaiah government. Siddaramaiah’s catastrophic economic policies caused agrarian distress across the state and especially in the old Mysore region. Severe droughts in the region brought further misery for the Vokkaligas and the Siddaramaiah government refused to help. With the proud Vokkaliga farmers unable to earn anything from their primary occupation, a sizable chunk of young Vokkaligas were forced to migrate to Bangalore. In Bangalore, the proud farmers were compelled to work as cab drivers and bar waiters in order to sustain a living for themselves. These Vokkaligas falling in the age group of 20-35 years were miffed with the Siddaramaiah government.
Apart from this, it has come to light, as per a report, that Siddaramaiah had singled out Vokkaligas and discriminated against them. The senior Vokkaliga officers in the state were posted at insignificant posts inviting resentment from the entire community and its wrath during the elections. H.D. Kumaraswamy saw a wonderful opportunity and tapped into this potential vote bank. This group of Vokkaligas residing in Bangalore placed all their hopes on ‘Kumaranna’. They were hopeful that Kumaraswamy will form the government and throw Siddaramaiah as well as Congress out of power. They did not know that their Kumaranna had planned to use them as political tools and then back-stab them with their enemy after the results were announced.
The Vokkaligas voted against the Congress out of anger and resentment against Siddaramaiah’s anti-Vokkaliga policies. They voted for JD(S) and even BJP where the JD(S) was not strong enough. The JD(S) appeared not to be in the race for the top post must have saddened the Vokkaligas. However, they were in for a rude shock when Kumaraswamy decided to enter into an unholy alliance with the Congress.
The Vokkaligas had voted to keep the Congress out of power and had pinned all their hopes on Kumaraswamy for that purpose. However, Kumaraswamy misused their support in order to bring their enemy back into power. The love and support of the Vokkaligas for Kumaraswamy soon turned into anger and outrage. Since May 15, the group of Vokkaligas in Bangalore has been quite vocal against Kumaraswamy giving him a variety of names such as owl, snake, jackal, etc. It seems that the Vokkaligas wont let Kumaraswamy get away that easily . He is in for some serious trouble.
Since the evening of 15 May, this group has been very vocal, calling Kumaranna a snake, jackal, ?, owl, "third-class nann maga" etc.
— Sandeep Balakrishna (@dharmadispatch) May 18, 2018
Today, Kumaraswamy and the Congress are rejoicing about how they have been able to manipulate public mandate and form government in the state by forging a condemnable coalition. Intoxicated with political power, Kumaraswamy is not able to understand what he has brought upon himself. For short-term gains, he is going to lose whatever little political existence and support he possesses. There is not a lot of time left for 2019 general elections and the JD(S) will find it tough to answer why they betrayed the people of Karnataka especially the Vokkaligas. The BJP may have failed to prove its numbers, but in the coming 2019 elections, the BJP will take JD(S) and the Congress for cleaners. The Lingayats are already favoring the BJP and with the Vokkaligas having turned hostile towards both the Congress and JD(S), the BJP is in for making major electoral gains in Karnataka.