BJP suffers greatly from its “Pro Hindi” image which is exploited by Siddu by whipping up of the Kannada sentiment. While during the election time, Mr Modi and others may be making efforts to dilute the feeling that BJP in the long run will impose Hindi on south Indians, the efforts so far has not been convincing.
Unless Mr Modi himself provides the kind of assurance that Mr Nehru was supposed to have given that Hindi would not be imposed on South India, and backs it up with efforts such as “Scrapping of the Hindi Prachar Sabhas” which are a symbol of Hindi imposition in South India, people in South including Karnataka has to live with the feeling that just as Indira Canteens are a political pre-election stunt, BJP’s efforts in projecting a Pan-India image is unlikely to be trusted.
We must however appreciate that Mr Modi can speak far better Kannada and even pronounce Sir M Vishweshwaraiah flawlessly while Rahul Gandhi always looks like a joker when he tries to pronounce Vishweshwariah or quote a vachana.
I wish Mr Modi provides his personal assurance that Hindi would not be imposed on Kannadigas and Kannada would be respected as a language. Once the distrust is removed, Kannadigas are comfortable in adopting to many languages and one can see BJP making more progress in Karnataka than before even if the local leadership is weak.
Language is therefore the first issue that bugs BJP and they need to tackle this effectively during the last few days of the campaign. They have Pratap Simha and Sulibele Chakravarthy to help them and these two should be used as “Star Campaigners” though Sulibele may like to remain an a-political character.