The CNN-IBN’s dirty tricks department is back in action with the first phase of polling for the Karnataka Assembly elections merely a week away.

This story pointed out by an Offstumped reader that appeared in the CNN-IBN is symptomatic of the kind communal vote bank politics that is being subtly injected into this race by the Left of Center media and the Congress.

The story titled “As Karnataka set for poll, Muslims say they feel unsafe” is insidiuous in the manner in which it seeks to consolidate the muslim vote ahead of the election.

There are multiple problems with this piece. To begin with the title makes this sweeping generalization about the entire Muslim community while providing no factual basis for such a generalization anywhere in the entire article. In fact the whole article is based on just  2 interviews of a muslim woman and businessman in Bangalore.

The next problem with the article with this piece is the manner in which it frames the issue with this theme that gets echoed through out the article

 The young, educated Muslims in Karnataka are at a crossroads. Their identity as an integral part of Karnataka’s inclusive culture is now under threat. The recent campaign against terrorism in the state is making them feel vulnerable.

This is the template that the media now wants to pursue in Karnataka by subtly suggesting that getting tough on Terrorist activities is somehow anti-Muslim. If there is any difference between the media’s anti-Modi, anti-BJP campaign in Gujarat and the media’s subtle campaign in Karnataka it is the absence of a single Modi like target for their hate. If in Gujarat all anti-terrorism rhetoric was branded as playing Hindutva politics  in Karnataka the media is stopping short of directly blaming the BJP.

There is a reason for this that may not be obvious here. In Gujarat the media was all out to get Modi because the Congress had no hope in hell of grabbing power. In Karnataka however the race is competitive. It will all come down to how the JD-S vote base gets splintered between the Congress and the BJP. In such a scenario conventional psued0secular wisdom would dictate that a fragmented a Muslim vote will only help the BJP to the detriment of the Congress.

So the objective in Karnataka is not to go all out to get the BJP for it would amount to polarising the public debate and helping the BJP. So instead the objective is to subtly run a whisper campaign that Muslims are under threat, they should not fragment their vote, a vote for the JD-S is a vote against Muslim interests hence subtly hinting which way the Muslim community must vote.

This agenda becomes obvious from the fact that CNN-IBN found it fit to interview Jaffer Sharief a discredited leader who as somehow speaking for the entire community while ignoring the fact that it was Jaffer Sharief who has been pursuing vote bank politics of exclusion when he infamously mobilized the Muslim community in Bangalore to protest Saddam Hussein’s execution resulting in  communal violence.

The CNN-IBN article is disingenuous for many more reasons. It has ignored the mobilization of muslim vote bank on the phony issue of Madrassas that Offstumped highlighted on 4th April 2008. The CNN-IBN article also makes no mention of the repudiation of Muslim vote bank politics by a section of the Muslim community highlighted by Offstumped which came out strongly against attempts to consolidate muslim vote in favor of any single political party.

Offstumped Bottomline: The issue of Terrorism is real in Karnataka and the Congress has a pathetic track record on dealing with Terrorism. To monger fears amongst the Muslim Community would amount to great disservice to the community. It would allow an opportunistic few to hijack the political agenda while shifting the public debate away from real issues that confront Muslims which have nothing to do with them being Muslims. CNN-IBN ought to be ashamed of itself for raising the bogey of Muslim fears with no factual basis while ignoring factual instances of Muslim Vote Bank Politics being played in the name of Madrassas

Offstumped is written by Yossarin from the Indian National Interest

Be Sociable, Share!