Madiga seer’s impact limited: Dalit leader

B. Gopal

On the core issue of Dalits and the Karnataka elections, one has to see how Dalit organisations operate. All the three major parties have Dalit organisations which are loyal to them. But the ruling Congress seems to have an edge over its rivals as far as Dalit votes are concerned. Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah has set up separate development corporations for Bhovis and Madigas and other communities in the SC bloc. This has sent positive signals to the communities.  To placate Madigas, the Congress selected Dr L. Hanumanthaiah for the Rajya Sabha but I feel it is a futile exercise because making one leader a Rajya Sabha member will not help the community.

About Madara Chennaiah Swamy tilting the balance of the Scheduled Caste community in this poll, I doubt if it will happen. I will give you an example. For instance, in Raichur and in other areas bordering Andhra Pradesh, SCs talk in Telugu while this Swamy can speak only Kannada. The cultural difference is apparent. His influence is restricted to only two or three sub sects within the SCs. Therefore, I think, to some extent, the SC votes would go to the Congress.

But on the long standing demand for internal reservation, the Siddaramaiah government has done nothing. People know he was not honest in his approach. It should be approved through a legislation in Parliament with a two thirds majority and then it should go to the ninth schedule of the Constitution to become effective.

For all the work, Siddaramaiah had done, organised loot continues under this government, I do not want to go into details. But, land was looted in and around Bengaluru. As far as my information goes, Kurubas now control nearly 10,000 acres of land in and around Bengaluru. Therefore, his social justice slogan is not convincing. As for the protests against the Supreme Court judgement on the SC/ST Atrocities Act, I doubt if would have an impact on Karnataka assembly elections. I do not think a north Indian reaction to the Act would have any impact on Karnataka elections. The reaction might have been popularised through WhatsApp messages. I do not think proper brainstorming has been done to organise a nationwide protest. If the organisers had made any preparation, you could have witnessed a reaction in south Indian states too.

I feel the Supreme Court could have set up an inquiry commission to inquire into the misuse and abuse of the Act by people.

(B. Gopal is former BSP state president)

(As told to Bhaskar Hegde)

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