Mangaluru: While the BJP is making no bones about its Hindutva agenda these Lok Sabha polls, Congress candidates in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi seem to be competing with it in their constituencies.
While Mr Mithun Rai campaigns in Dakshina Kannada donning a saffron shawl, Mr Pramod Madhwaraj in Udupi talks about rearing cattle . Both men also don’t fail to visit temples, their soft Hindutva a clear embarassment for the Congress. Some Congress leaders even allege Mr Rai has a soft corner for workers of the Bajrang Dal and other saffron outfits.
But a few others have mixed feelings. While some believe the DK and Udupi candidates’ strategy could help the party get Hindu votes, others argue it could alienate the party’s traditional minority voters. "Mithun Rai and Pramod are following soft Hindutva when the Congress is known for its secular stand. Their soft Hindutva may lead to a problem and cost them as it is against the party's secular policy," said a Congress leader.
The BJP is expectedly scornful. Said the the party’s Mangaluru Vibhag Prabhari, Uday Kumar Shetty, “As the Congress has started following soft Hindutva at the national level, the party;s candidates of DK and Udupi are doing it too. In DK Mithun Rai is giving pro Hindutva statements and in Udupi Pramod is doing the same. He says that he too is rearing cattle. But the question is not about rearing cattle but supporting those who steal the animals. People will not be taken in by their fake Hindutva." .
But Karnataka Komu Sauhardha Vedike district president Suresh Bhat argues that visiting temples and Maths and chanting shlokas is a part of Hindu culture. “The alleged soft corner that Mithun has for saffron outfit workers can be considered soft Hindutva but not his temple visits or chanting of shlokas," he contended.
Federation of Muslim Organsiation president and former mayor of Mangaluru city, Ashraf too doesnt think Mr Mithun Rai is following soft Hindutva. "As a candidate Mithun is visiting temples, mosques, and churches and may have worn a saffron shaw during his temple visit. But this cannot be considered Hindutva,” he contended.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analyses et all. Happy reading....