• Telugu Speaking Voters in Karnataka Asked to Vote Against BJP

    Newsclick Report

    April 11, 2018

    Image Courtesy: Star of Mysore

    The current public anger in Andhra Pradesh over the ruling BJP government at Centre not according it with the Special Category Status, as earlier promised, has become quite evident. And this seems to have impacted the Telugu- speaking voters in Karnataka, as the state gears up for the Assembly polls on May 12.

    With about 7 percent population in Karnataka being Telugu speakers, only after Kannada (66 percent) and Urdu (10.5 percent), the Telugus as a community have their own role in deciding the electoral outcome. It has been reported that a number of Whatsapp messages are being circulated, asking the Telugu speaking voters not to vote for the BJP — the dominant argument being that the Narendra Modi government “betrayed” Andhra Pradesh by not according it with the Special Category Status (SCS).

    In the last two months, Andhra Pradesh has been boiling with protests that have raised only one demand – SCS. Recently, Andhra’s ruling party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) broke its alliance with NDA over the same issue. On April 9, Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh K.E. Krishnamurthy affirmed that the TDP party will appeal to Telugu voters in Karnataka to not vote for BJP. “Mr Modi has cheated the Telugu people. Please remember while voting not to vote BJP,” Krishnamurthy was quoted as saying.

    A TDP affiliated IT professionals group in Karnataka has reportedly claimed to have started an online campaign against BJP.

    Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region shares a boundary with Karnataka, with a sizable population forming an important labour force in the latter. The Telugu speaking population in Karnataka are distributed predominantly in eight districts – Gulbarga, Raichur, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bangalore and Bangalore rural. It is believed that at least in 30 MLA constituencies, a sizable number of Telugu voters are distributed.

    Telugu speaking communities, including the Reddys, are classified as Vokkaligas in Karnataka, who are considered as one of the dominant community in the state.

    Multi-lingual Karnataka

    Apart from Kannada, Urdu and Telugu, other prominently spoken languages in Karnataka are Marathi (spoken by 3.58 percent population), Tamil (3.55 percent) Tulu (3 percent), Hindi (2.5 percent), Konkani (1.4 percent), Malayalam (1.3 percent) and Kodava (0.3 percent).

    While a total of 50 languages are currently being spoken in the state, a survey conducted by the Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) had found that eight languages are “potentially endangered” (when less than 10,000 are using it) and two are “critically endangered” (languages not spoken by younger generation of a particular community).

    The languages spoken by the Tribal communities – Koraga, Badaga, Yerava, Irula, Soliga, Gouli, Jenukuruba and Bettakuruba are identified as “potentially endangered”. Siddi language (spoken by Siddi Tribe) and Hakki Pikki language (of the nomadic tribes) have been identified as “critically endangered”.


    First published in Newsclick.

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Indian Writers' Forum.

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