Karnataka elections 2013 - ‘Modi go back’ slogans rent the air

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Hindutva experiment has well and truly failed in Karnataka’

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangalore to campaign for the BJP was opposed by a group of Dalit and secular organisations on Sunday. The agitators, who said that Mr. Modi was responsible for the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, gathered under heavy police presence at Ananda Rao Circle under the banner of Nyakkagi Naavu.

“That Mr. Modi is not being made to campaign extensively in Karnataka is proof of the fact that his brand of divisive politics doesn’t find wide endorsement in Karnataka,” K.L. Ashok of Nyakkagi Naavu told the gathering. He added, “The BJP is trying to shield him from the wrath of the people of this State who have a long history of pro-people and secular movements.”

Even as the protesters shouted slogans saying “Modi go back” and “Karnataka is not Gujarat”, Mr. Ashok said, “The Hindutva experiment has well and truly failed in Karnataka. Even in places such as Hubli, Chikmagalur, Davangere and the coastal districts — where the Sangh Parivar is seen as powerful — there is a growing resentment toward the ideology which has resulted in vicious attacks against not just minorities but also women, Dalits and the youth.”

Dalit leader Indudar Honnapura dismissed the argument that a citizen of India has the right to travel anywhere he wishes. “Mr. Modi is not an ordinary citizen. He is accused of crimes against humanity and is solely responsible for the ‘genocide’ in Gujarat.”

He expressed concern over the attempts of some corporations to “airbrush” Mr. Modi’s image by projecting him as a “messiah of development”. He said, “His name being projected as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate is purely a construct of the corporate-funded media.” He said, “Corporates have no ideology or commitment to human values. They only want to make money. We saw this in Nazi Germany too where several large corporates actively helped Hitler in the war effort.”

Echoing this view, freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy said, “People of this State should say ‘no’ to Modi and ‘no’ to the BJP.”

Lamenting the spate of corruption cases that were exposed during the BJP rule, he said that every marginalised and weak section of society had borne the brunt of that party’s divisive ideology.

Mr. Ashok also rejected the claim that Gujarat has flourished economically under Mr. Modi and said: “The average daily wage rate is Rs. 218 in Kerala and Rs. 116 in Gujarat. The average rural wage is Rs. 152 in Punjab and Rs. 83 in Gujarat. Of the 12 developed States in India, Gujarat has been ranked 11 on Human Development Indices of 2011. According to UNICEF, every second child aged less than five is malnourished in Gujarat. Three of four children in the same age bracket are anaemic.”

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