With merely days before the first phase of polling in Karnataka in the Assembly Elections it is puzzling how lack lustre the campaign has been till date.

There has been no defining issue or slate of issues that have dominated the public debate despite the best efforts of the parties. What is even more puzzling about this election in Karnataka is the absolute lack of back and forth between the principal parties on any of the issues. While the BJP may have been more vocal in the public debate having fielded its star campaigners from Narendra Modi to LK Advani the Congress has been conspicuous in the utter lack of participation of its leaders in the public debate. There is no visible face or stentorian voice setting the agenda for the Congress. Instead what you see is chest thumping by factional leaders in their respective pocket boroughs.

Be that as it may with the political parties, but what of the people ?

While we have seen vocal minorities masquerading as custodians of Kannada interests hit the streets on the Cauvery water issue we have not seen any issues like the BRT issue or the Sealing issue in Delhi or the Nandigram issue in Bengal thrust on the agenda of the political parties by the people.

So should we take it that the Karnataka Voter is apathetic and disinterested ?

Well voter turnout hardly bears that out.

Voter turnout on an average in most of the assembly constituencies in the last 2 assembly elections has been in the high 50s and mostly in the 60s with some constituency even showing upwards of 70% voter turnout. The only exception being the urban seats of Bangalore which is a national trend with most urban electorate.

So how does one explain the paradox of high to very high turnouts against an election bereft of any kind of public debate or defining issues ?

This leads us to what this election will likely end up being – the sum of all local incumbencies, mutinies and interests

But then Sonia Gandhi seems to have unwittingly stirred the cauldron here by raising the issue of Terrorism.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressing a rally in Tumkur in the run up to the first phase of  assembly elections in Karnataka had this to say
 “our opponents are levelling all kinds of allegations against us. But people know the truth. We cannot tolerate this charge against us of going soft on terrorism”.

Very well so what did Sonia Gandhi have to show by way of being hard on terror to the victims of the Mumbai 7-11, Malegaon, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Varnasi, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Mecca Masjid bomb blasts.

So let us see here – Indira Gandhi fell to the bullets of her bodyguards back in 1984 and that makes the Manmohan Singh led UPA Congress Government to be hard on terror. So for the 200 odd victims of Mumbai 7-11 Justice is served by taking comfort in the fact that 2 decades ago Sonia Gandhi’s mother-in-law was killed by terrorists.

So in effect what Sonia Gandhi is saying to the victims of all mass terror attacks that have occured during the Manmohan Singh UPA regime is that for 2 decades I put up with the loss of my mother-in-law and husband to terrorism and so should you !

Offstumped has extensively chronicled the pathetic Anti-Terrorism record of the Sonia Gandhi Manmohan Singh UPA Government.

As Karnataka goes to polls and the Congress ratchets up the rhetoric it is worth remembering that

Sonia Gandhi went to a conference of Mullahs to announce the dilution of POTA

Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressing 28th All India General Session of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH) a national body of Muslim Clergy said – the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which the community had viewed as anti-Muslim had been withdrawn and those arrested under its provisions had been released

Sonia Gandhi is guilty of a Conspiracy of Silence on the 7-11 Mumbai Blasts

If Sonia Gandhi’s deafening silence on the Mumbai Blasts explains the Manmohan Singh UPA Government’s delinquency, her remarks laced with political correctness and minority appeasement explain the overall attitude of the Congress in dealing with terrorism. Sonia Gandhi owes the nation an explanation for her silence on the Mumbai Blasts failing which one can only conclude that Sonia Gandhi has consistently put partisan political interest and minority appeasement above National Interest.

Offstumped is written by Yossarin from the Indian National Interest

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