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Neha murder case: Setback for Cong as polarisation of Lingayat votes may help BJP

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Neha murder case: Setback for Cong as polarisation of Lingayat votes may help BJP

Bengaluru, April 22 (Ajit Weekly News) The sensational murder of 23-year-old student Neha Hiremath by a youth from the minority community who she was allegedly in a relationship with, has proved to be a setback for the Congress in Karnataka.

On the other hand, the development is also leading to polarisation of the Lingayat vote bank to the BJP’s advantage.

While the Congress is on the back foot and is apologising, the BJP is acting on a war footing and has organised a statewide protest.

Despite his tight schedule, BJP National President, JP Nadda visited the family of the deceased college student.

BJP sources reveal that Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, will be pitching in soon in Hubballi for campaigning.

The BJP’s strategy is to embarrass the Congress government throughout the General Elections by raising the issue of ‘love jihad’.

Congress Corporator Niranjan Hiremath, who is Neha’s father, has castigated the handling of the case by the government.

He slammed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Home Minister, Dr G Parameshwara, urging them not to politicise the girl’s murder and denied that she was in a relationship with Fayaz Kondikoppa.

Following the outrage over the murder, the government has handed over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The Congress government is in a fix over the allegations by her father of ‘love jihad’, the police not bothering to track the call details of the accused, taking inputs from the family and no action on four others who are alleged to be in collusion with Fayaz Kondikoppa.

CM Siddaramaiah’s categorical statement that the murder was not a case of ‘love jihad’ has become a weapon in the hands of the BJP.

BJP leaders are taking pot shots at the Congress government and asking that when their own Corporator’s daughter could not be protected, how can the government ensure the safety of others?

A series of crimes, including an attack by alleged Nigerian drug peddlers on the police have raised questions on the law and order situation in the state.

The Nigerian nationals had attacked the police with rods, stones and helmets in Bengaluru last week.

Leader of Opposition, R Ashoka listed out a series of incidents reported in the recent past, such as an attack on youths for raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans on Ram Navami festival, attack on a shop owner for playing Hanuman Chalisa in Bengaluru, murder of four persons of a family in Gadag and a double murder in Bengaluru.

Ashoka had alleged that the government had tied the hands of the police for the sake of appeasement politics.

Talking to Ajit Weekly News, senior journalist Asha K stated, “The Neha Hiremath murder case is bound to give a twist to the elections for the Dharwad Lok Sabha seat. Of course, much depends on whether the BJP and the allied saffron fringe groups sustain their verbal battle against the ruling Congress over the incident.”

“Neha hailed from the influential Lingayat community. She was reportedly stabbed around 4.30 pm on Thursday, and none of the Congress leaders dared to meet her family members till the next day. This is despite her father being a Congress Corporator. This clearly shows that the Congress was at a loss for words to even console the family. However, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi met the victim’s father on the fateful day itself,” Asha K opined.

Asha K pointed out that Dharwad, Haveri, Belagavi, and the surrounding districts have a sizable Lingayat population, which used to support the BJP till 2023.

The murder might again realign the community seeking ‘justice’ for the victim.

Though the Congress has condemned the incident, it enjoys the support of Muslims.

“In a way, the party leaders’ tongues are tied. This also forced them to repeatedly say it is a ‘personal case’ while the BJP alleges it is another love jihad incident,” Asha K noted.

“Union Minister Joshi is not very comfortably placed to retain the Dharwad seat. Certain Lingayat seers have alleged that he has betrayed their community’s politicians,” she added.

“The Neha murder case has all the potential to polarise voters between the two prime parties in Dharwad. It may swing votes to a certain extent in favour of the BJP. However, it would not have a uniform impact across the state unless the combined BJP-JD(S) decides otherwise. Politics is always dynamic,” Asha K observed.

–Ajit Weekly News


News Credits – I A N S

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