Dirty digital war- The new ugly face of electoral politics

Satish Chapparike
Tuesday, 8 May 2018

It appears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have accepted half defeat even before the battle has began in Karnataka’s Battle Royale. The way Modi praised Former Prime Minister and JD(S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda during his recent election rally in Karnataka was a clear indication the BJP camp is not really confident of winning the elections on its own and hence is ready to share power with the JD(S) after results come out on May 15.

It appears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have accepted half defeat even before the battle has began in Karnataka’s Battle Royale. The way Modi praised Former Prime Minister and JD(S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda during his recent election rally in Karnataka was a clear indication the BJP camp is not really confident of winning the elections on its own and hence is ready to share power with the JD(S) after results come out on May 15.

Are Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy, the chief ministerial aspirant, ready to tie the knot for the second time with the BJP? The elder Gowda has already declared that, “If Kumaraswamy joins hands with the BJP, he will be thrown out of the house.” Will he stick to his words? History says no. If the time comes, senior Gowda and junior Gowda can enact any drama and accept the BJP’s support to form the government. They will put forward only one condition: “Kumaraaswamy should be the CM.” So, anything may happen after the results. But one thing is clear that BJP will not get absolute majority on its own.

In the beginning of this Battle Royale, Modi- Shah and the team BJP said, “Mission 150+ will be easily accomplished in Karnataka.” They thought that Modi wave would sweep in Karnataka like it did in Uttar Pradesh, and uproot both the Congress and the JD(S). But now, Modi’s respect towards Deve Gowda indicates the absolute truth.

All along the course, the BJP did some basic mistakes. First, projecting BS Yeddyurappa as the chief ministerial candidate. Then, endless infighting within the BJP fractions in 
Karnataka, controversial jibes of BJP leaders and the last nail in the coffin was ‘forgiving Bellary Reddy brothers for all their sins in the interest of the state.’ The change in heart towards the Reddy clan is that they can win 10-15 seats in and around Bellary for the BJP! At last, even forgetting his position and the crime they committed, Prime Minister of India himself is now ready to stand with the Bellary Reddy brothers now! Wish some common sense would have prevailed on the prime minister.
Yes, everything is fair in love, war and politics! But, the way BJP, Congress and JD(S) are stooping low in Karnataka is unimaginable. The irony is that no party is talking about real issue like agricultural crisis, farmers suicide, urban infrastructural bottleneck, Cauvery & Mahadaayi issues and the basic problems of Bengaluru. Especially, the Modi-led BJP campaigners like Amit Shah and Yogi Aditynath are relentlessly attacking the Congress President Rahul Gandhi and incumbent Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah. That too both on field and on digital platforms.

Interestingly, in the beginning, BJP looked very strong on social media and did amazing attacks on the Congress. They strategically used the media also. The party which is so good in image building and public relations used both its in-house team and a discretely designated group of individuals from last few months and ripped apart the Congress. Now, the Congress has won this digital battle in unimaginable ways, that too with facts and respectful ways. As soon as Modi completes a sentence in an election rally, Congress digital war room is hitting back at the BJP in a tit-for- tat way.

“Dear PM Modi, as you arrive in Bellary, we look forward to hear your commentary on corruption. Don’t forget to mention Reddy’s record scam score of Rs 35,000 cr and still not out. With star players like Yeddy-Reddy, your score in Karnataka will be well short of 60.#ModiHitWicket; “At least 64 peoplehave lost their lives due to a storm in Uttar Pradesh. My heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I am sorry your CM is needed here in Karnataka. I am sure he will return soon attend to his work there.”- these two tweets from the Congress are the samples of the aggressive campaign from the end of the Congress.

The dirty war of words is not only restricted to Facebook, Twitter and other digital platforms. Even in print and television advertisements also all three parties are accusing each 
other in nasty ways. There was an era in Indian politics when political parties used to come up with strong election manifestos and tired to deliver their promises.

In this elections, more than the manifesto, personal mudsligning is happening in big way with a very nasty language. On social media platforms, all parties have started planting false news and stories! This was an unheard and unseen in the Indian democratic system. The false news and propaganda based ‘Bhasmasur’ who was born during the 2014 general election, has completely eaten up ‘The Truth’, ‘Fact’, ‘Ethics’ even in the media. Barring one or two media houses in Karnataka, all others have yielded to the advertisement mafia and surrendered to the political parties. More than the truth and facts, propagandas are being fed to the voters in Karnataka. Whether the voters fall in to this trap or not, only the time will reveal.

However, Siddaramaiah says he will retain his seat as Karnataka CM even after May 15. Whereas the BJP’s CM-designate Yeddyurappa has already blocked the dates for his swearing-in ceremony at the Kanteerava Stadium and openly said, “I will take the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka either on May 18 or 19 depending upon the availability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-Ji.” JD(S) leader and CM aspirant HD Kumaraswamy has also announced that he will be swearing in on May 18! Will the mandate be so clear and easy one? NO. The voters of Karnataka always shown that maturity and smartness over last seven decades and they will react in the same way on May 12. Until then, the Kar-Natak of politicians will continue.

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