BJP pushes ideological battle in Karnataka; promises UCC, NRC


For the first time since the Assam assembly polls in 2021, the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) has made a return to the BJP election manifesto for any state as the BJP on Monday promised to implement it in Karnataka to ensure deportation of “all illegal immigrants” if voted to power.
Like several other recent assembly polls, the BJP also continued with its strategy of making the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as part of its state-specific manifesto by promising to execute the policy, a part of its foundational nationwide agenda, in Karnataka based on the recommendations of a high-level committee to be set up if it retains power there.
The party had so far, though, refrained from touching on the NRC in its state poll manifestoes except in Assam, where the issue of illegal immigrants has long been a concern, especially among indigenous communities.
The BJP in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had pledged its support to the NRC as well as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which was passed by Parliament in 2019 but has not been rolled out in the absence of rules.
The government had asserted in December 2019 that it had no plans for a countrywide NRC amid protests against the measure and also the CAA, and had blamed the opposition for spreading “lies” over the issues. Several Muslim groups and opposition parties had termed the CAA and NRC discriminatory on the religious ground.
Political watchers believe that the BJP has amped up its Hindutva agenda in Karnataka by introducing the NRC, an issue close to the heart of its core supporters, as it pulls out all the stops to beat off the challenge from the opposition Congress in a state which has often voted out the incumbent government.
“We will introduce the National Register of Citizens in Karnataka and ensure speedy deportation of all illegal immigrants in the state,” the BJP manifesto released on Monday stated.
“The Constitution (of India) allows us to move in the direction of Uniform Civil Code. ‘Justice to all; appeasement to none’ is our policy”, BJP National Present J P Nadda, who was among those present at the release programme, said.
The party also promised to create a special wing in the state called ‘Karnataka State Wing against Religious Fundamentalism and Terror (K-SWIFT).The BJP said it would provide three free cooking gas cylinders to all BPL families — one each during the months of ‘Yugadi’, ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ and ‘Deepavali’.
“We will set up an ‘Atal Aahara Kendra’ in every ward of every municipal corporation in the State to provide affordable, quality and healthy food across the State”, the party said in its manifesto.
It also promised to launch the ‘Poshane’ scheme through which every BPL household will be provided with half litre ‘Nandini’ milk every day and five kg ‘Shri Anna-siri dhanya’ through monthly ration kits.
In the Aarogya category, the BJP has promised to launch ‘Mission Swasthya Karnataka’ by establishing one ‘Namma Clinic’ (our clinic) in each ward of the municipal corporations. They will be equipped with diagnostic facilities. Also, it will provide a free annual master health check-up for senior citizens.
The party said if it is voted to power, it will allocate Rs 1,500 crore to develop Kalyana Circuit, Banavasi Circuit, Parashurama Circuit, Kaveri Circuit and Ganagapura Corridor to transform Karnataka into India’s most favoured tourist destination.