ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste Challenges BJP

Hindutva comes under strain in Karnataka where the major castes aggressively consolidate themselves.

After a week-long political drama scripted on caste lines – unprecedented not only in the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also in the modern history of unified Karnataka – the BJP high command was successful in thrusting upon Karnataka what is being popularly described as an “LKG government”. What the Hindutva party, which makes tall claims of its nationalism and Hinduness, could finally forge was a government based on the Lingayat-Kuruba-Gowda (LKG) alliance.

In a drama that had many subtexts, D V Sadananda Gowda, belonging to the Okkaliga (Gowda) caste, was forced to resign from his post of the chief minister on 12 July and Jagadish Shettar, a Lingayat, was made the chief minister. Along with him, K S Eshvarappa, hitherto state president of BJP and belonging to the fourth biggest caste group, the Kurubas, and R Ashok, an Okkaliga, the second biggest caste in the state, were made deputy chief ministers. While the post of deputy chief minister was previously created by the Congress and other coalition governments in the state, this had never happened in any BJP-ruled state. And never before have there been two deputy chief ministers. This shows the level of irreconcilable contradiction between warring factions within the state BJP.

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