BJP on Karnataka Elections: There is a BJP government in Karnataka. There Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has shown generosity regarding the reservation of Scheduled Tribes (ST). The Scheduled Tribes, one of the biggest beneficiaries, currently constitute about 7 per cent of the state’s population. In October last year, the Bommai government had announced an increase in the reservation quota for STs from 3 per cent to 7 per cent in proportion to the population of the community. Of all the changes effected by the BJP government in Karnataka in the last phase of its current term, the quota for STs has been increased by 4 per cent, which is the biggest increase any community has received in the state.
< p style ="text-align: justify;">This was followed by keeping the dominant Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities at 5 to 7 percent, respectively, despite their demand for between 11 and 15 percent. At the same time, after canceling the Muslim OBC quota of 4 percent, only 2 percent has been increased. In addition, the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota has also been increased by only 2 percent from 15 to 17 percent.
Hope to swing ST votes in its favor
The demand to increase the quota in proportion to the population of Scheduled Tribes has been pending for a long time. Now, by fulfilling this demand, the BJP is hoping to garner ST community votes in 15 more of Karnataka’s 224 seats, which are reserved for ST candidates.
BJP’s eyes are specially set on the prominent Valmiki Nayak community. At the same time, with the ST quota move, the BJP is also hoping to rectify the failure of its ST leaders in the last three assembly elections, where it finished second to or equal to the Congress. The Congress has managed to retain its traditional base in the ST communities despite the emergence of big tribal leaders in the BJP in recent times.
Congress won 9 seats
In the year 2013, Congress had won 9 out of 15 seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes. At that time B. Sriramulu, the chief Scheduled Tribe leader of the Congress from Ballari, formed his own party (BSR Congress) and won three reserved seats. The Congress and the BJP ended up with seven ST-reserved seats each in the 2008 and 2018 elections.
BJP confident of support of ST and Valmiki heroes
The increase in ST quota was announced in October last year. Regarding this, former Congress MP VS Ugrappa, coming from the Valmiki Nayak community, had said that this is a political decision of the BJP. Had slept for so many days and now have suddenly woken up. This is the effect of Bharat Jodo Yatra, inflation and corruption allegations against BJP. They have suddenly become active on this issue.
It was told that this decision is sure to get the BJP the support of STs, especially Valmiki Nayaks, who failed to fulfill the promise of the post of Deputy CM and sidelined B Sriramulu. In the year 2018, Sriramulu contested against the then CM Siddaramaiah of Congress from Badami district in Bagalkot. During that time Sriramulu had promised to increase the ST quota on behalf of the BJP.
Let us tell you that Ballari has a sizeable population of Valmiki Nayaks and for this reason Sriramulu has been the main tribal leader of BJP for the last decade. Since then, Sriramulu has also seen his prominence gradually diminish.
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