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Freebies vs Aspirations- What Works In Karnataka?

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With Lok Sabha elections just about a month away, we decoded Karnataka’s political landscape at ‘NDTV Battleground’. We also discussed the challenges faced by the capital city Bengaluru, including water crisis and inadequate transportation system.

We deciphered state’s politics, growth, seat distribution in upcoming elections, challenges for the current government and the opposition and much more.

Here are the highlights on ‘Battleground Karnataka’:

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Social Media’s Role In Politics
Social media plays critical role in influencing. All politicans are on Instagram, X, says Shraddha Sharma, YourStory Founder, CEO.

BJP’s South Push
The narrative is that the BJP does not have a presence in the south except Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu alone, the PM has made 26 visits between January and now. He has been consistently pursuing the cultural agenda, taking Sengol to the new parliament. Rajinikanth is on his side. He took the Chinese president to Tamil Nadu. The kind of emphasis he has laid, says Sugata Srinivasaraju, senior journalist and author.

“Siddaramaiah’s guarantee is over. MLAs are upset too. And people want Modi’s development. PM Modi has made sure every Indian has a bank account, food on the table, health insurance etc. Deprivation is less. It is there on the ground. Jobs are there, but 80% of jobs pay less than Rs 20,000. South is job surplus. Internal migration has shifted,” says TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Arin Capital Partners.

“What’s big today is that we are not in apologetic India. The young are looking at next 10 years. This is new India. Women and young India will vote confidently,” says Shraddha Sharma, YourStory founder, CEO.

On The Opposition Narrative
“The narrative that opposition is trying to build is one about lack of jobs,” says Sugata Srinivasaraju.

However, he also added, “The Congress does not have a cultural narrative or emotional connect. It makes a technocratic point. With BJP, they have Mandir, Modi, etc.”

Changing Demographics And What It Means?
“How young voters vote this time will be the precursor. Now there are more women voters. Now people want ‘Modi ka guarantee’,” says TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Arin Capital Partners.

“We embrace diversity. When I speak to Gen Z everyone is concerned about the future of the country. We need to shed this caste, class thing. They are angry about corruption. I hope ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ happens,” says Nooraine Fazal, founding CEO and managing trustee of Inventure Academy.

The ‘Modi Factor’ In Karnataka
“Modi factor is key to BJP victory. They are bringing caste and class together. If you see their campaign, candidates say that you are voting for the PM not us. Congress is focusing on regional narrative,” says Sandeep Shashtri, Director -Academics, NITTE Education Trust and National Coordinator, Lokniti.

Battleground On NDTV: “Politics Of Sub-Caste” In Karnataka
When it comes to Karnataka, there is politics of sub-caste. Why the BJP lost in 2023 is because Lingayats did not support them. There’s a very good reason why BS Yediyurappa was brought back, says Sugata Srinivasaraju, senior journalist and author.

“When it comes to India, Kannadigas want to see who will take India forward. There is cash politics in Karnataka. When it comes to national politics, Karnataka votes differently,” says TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Arin Capital Partners.

Does Caste Factor Matter In Karnataka?
Karnataka is a caste-centric state. BJP has now spread almost evenly across the state, says Sugata Srinivasaraju, senior journalist and author.

Decoding How Karnataka Votes
We are not thinking about cash or subsidies. Bengaluru welcomes everybody. Karnataka’s voting is how Indians are looking at the future. It is richest in per capita terms, says TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Arin Capital Partners.

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