Bengaluru:The issues most spoken about in this Karnataka election were myriad. Corruption is an evergreen electoral plank and was used by almost all parties. The agrarian distress, with some 3,000 farmers killing themselves in the past 5 years was another.
Then, there was the issues of Karnataka sub-nationalism, Kannada pride that chief minister Siddaramaiah sought to invoke.
Corruption was an issue that the BJP talked about, but then reinstating the scandal tainted BS Yeddyurappa and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy and his brother into the BJP, showed that the party did not really think it would affect them. But that was only the latest in a series of allegations, including the recovery of a diary with details on alleged kickbacks given for building a steel flyover.
There was a 2016 scandal when Siddaramaiah was caught wearing a diamond-studded Hublot watch.
The Karnataka sub-nationalism debate was renewed when, on 8 March this year, the state cabinet okayed the Karnataka flag, a rectangle with three equal coloured bands running across it., much like the India flag. But the Karnataka flag is coloured yellow, white and red with the state emblem in the middle of the white strip.
That was the culmination of a project that began much earlier and included Siddaramaiah writing a to union urban development minister Narendra Singh Tomar saying the state would ask Bangalore Metro Rail Company Ltd to replace the existing Hindi signages to the local language Kannada.
The BJP invoked the state Congress’ use of Tipu Sultan to underscore its Hindutva agenda.
And the state Congress decided to recommend minority religion status to the Lingayats, followers of 12th century social reformer Basavanna. In doing so, the Congress sought to undercut B.S. Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat leader who is also the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.