Karnataka BJP state President and the possible Chief Ministerial face for the state assembly elections due in Apr-May 2018, B S Yeddyurappa will be hosting lunch for 33 Dalit families at his residence on Monday. Karnataka will be poll bound soon in Apr-May-2018. All the major political parties in the state have geared up for the elections and are trying to woo the minority-Dalits to their sides. The ruling party Congress, the main opposition party BJP and Janata Dal (S), all are trying every possible strategy to win the votes of the minorities comprising the majority of the voters by undertaking different strategies.
BJP CM Candidate Yeddyurappa was on a tour across the state to establish the party’s presence ahead of the polls and win the confidence of the people luring in as many votes as possible. During his Jan Sampark Abhiyan, he had visited the homes of these Dalit families and had breakfast with them. Concluding his tour now he has invited these 33 Dalits families to have lunch at his residence. 2 members from each family will be brought to his house by the BJP workers and vegetarian food will be served to them. Yeddyurappa himself will welcome the families and hold informal talks with them and serve them food.
The Dalits comprise of almost 35% of the total voters in Karnataka. This move of BJP Chief Ministerial face Yeddyurappa is being regarded as his campaigning policy to bring the minority votes into BJP’s pocket. The opposition criticising this appeasement policy adopted by the BJP said that the party is copying the initiatives taken by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during the 2014 election campaigns of visiting the tribal and Dalit homes across the country. It also resembles the grama vaastavya” (stay in the village) programme, undertaken by JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy when he was the Chief Minister of Karnataka in 2006-07.
Congress leaders including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and party Lok Sabha floor leader Mallikarjun M Kharge, also the senior most Dalit leader from Karnataka also mocked the show hosted by Yeddyurappa. Siddaramaiah alleged that Yeddyurappa only pretended of having food at the house of Dalits, in reality, he bought food from the hotel and had it at their homes. He also accused that since Congress unveiled this disguised face of Yeddyurappa, he even stopped visiting the Dalits.
However, Yeddyurappa responding to these allegations had earlier in his statement to the ET had said that he was not copying anybody and he had always visited the Dalits and the poor. He said “I have not copied anyone else’s programme. I have always visited Dalit homes, whenever I have travelled in the state. It gives the Dalits a feeling of confidence if we visit them and eat at their homes.”
Supporting Yeddyurappa, the BJP spokesperson S Suresh Kumar said in an official statement said that “by visiting the homes of Dalits and inviting them to his house, Yeddyurappa has written a new chapter in the BJP’s commitment and slogan, “BJP’s march towards Dalits Home”. He has demonstrated, by his acts and deeds, his personal commitment for Dalit welfare and need to create social harmony in the society, which is bigger and greater than politics.”