HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

RSS' extreme tactics affecting BJP fortunes in coastal areas

Naveen Ammembala, Hindustan Times  Bengaluru, May 05, 2013
First Published: 00:41 IST(5/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:21 IST(5/5/2013)

Attacks on churches, persecution of Muslims, violence against youths in the name of moral policing and kidnapping in the name of fighting love jihad, coastal Karnataka has seen enough in the past five years.


And after the recent urban local body polls, in which the BJP was routed by the Congress, there is little doubt that the wind is turning in the erstwhile saffron bastion and in all likelihood the impact will be felt in the assembly polls as well.

Experts say it was one thing to hear the preaching by people related to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when the BJP was not in power, but the actions of its cadres during the BJP rule has put off even some of its staunchest followers.

"The radical groups are spreading hatred and fundamentalism.  After the home-stay case, such incidents are decreasing. But it is bound to influence voters," said political analyst Professor Na Da Shetty. In July 2012, activists of a pro-Hindu organisation had barged into a home-stay and dragged out, molested and assaulted five young women for partying.

Not surprisingly, radical Muslim organisations have directly or indirectly fielded candidates in this election. And the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Karnataka Forum for Dignity are targeting voters belonging to the minority community on the planks of "persecution and justice".

Social activist Vidya Dinker said, "The young and women voters will definitely go against the BJP because of these moral policing issues and goondaism in the name of religion and culture."

Sensing the mood, the BJP has fielded new faces in more than five of coastal Karnataka's 13 constituencies.

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