Wake Up Karnataka’ – Impact Created, Lessons Learnt : Part-3

Eddelu Karnataka has successfully established a model of effective civil society intervention. Its efforts have not only brought hope to the people of Karnataka but have also inspired progressive individuals and organizations in other states.

What is the impact?:

  • ‘Eddelu Karnataka’ emerged as a platform for passionate individuals who aimed to defeat the BJP and contribute to the cause. It resulted in a remarkable surge of energy and successfully motivated thousands of activists to take action.
  • The journey is not yet complete. It has instilled a sense of confidence in the civil society, proving that with dedication and a well-planned strategy, it is indeed possible to overcome the BJP in electoral battles to start with.
  • It gave rise to an autonomous political force of the people, independent of any particular party and free from financial or other dependencies.

  • It significantly enhanced the understanding of our political policies and tactics in the present-day society, particularly among the marginalized and oppressed communities. The importance of avoiding vote fragmentation was emphasized, promoting the idea of voting for candidates with higher chances of defeating the opposition. It is noteworthy that the occurrence of vote splitting was considerably reduced this tim
  • The message of resistance reverberated throughout the society, thanks to an extensive and impactful social media campaign. It revitalized the spirits of those who had lost hope and provided rational answers to those who were confused. Resistance gained a charismatic aura through the power of songs.
  • A substantial counter-narratives have been constructed to challenge the strategies employed by the BJP and the Sangh. This achievement should not be underestimated. This time, the BJP’s Urigowda, Nandini, and Sudeep were all confronted effectively. Even Modi’s visit failed to create a significant effect. The role and contribution of independent civil society activists and teams, working in coordination with Eddelu but with their own unique approaches, played a crucial part in this humble accomplishment.
  • The BJP attempted to maneuver its way out of the pit it had dug for itself. The murder of Idris Pasha and the revocation of reservations for Muslims were not mere acts of retribution. They were political monstrosities, part of a conspiracy to incite Muslims and steer politics in a communal direction. However, the collaborative efforts of Muslim organizations working in coordination with Eddelu shed light on a different path. The entire community thus unanimously decided to respond legally and politically, refraining from taking to the streets.
  • A confidence-boosting survey emerged. Amidst the media’s constant chatter about the BJP’s grip on power or its precarious state, the “Eedina” team’s scientific survey, commissioned by civil society, confidently asserted that “Congress will independently form the government.” This survey provided a noteworthy contribution, instilling confidence among the progressive circles and the dedicated activists striving to defeat the BJP. Such assurance was vital to their cause.

  • While its impact may not have been overwhelmingly powerful, it served as a wake-up call to those advocating for the rights of various marginalized groups during the elections. The platform brought attention to the issues faced by the landless, farmers, underprivileged agricultural laborers, communities seeking internal reservations, and government employees fighting for their rights, among others. It compelled the dominant
    parties, particularly the Congress, to acknowledge and address these concerns to some extent. As a result, the respective communities made a resolute decision to defeat the BJP. Furthermore, it marked a fine milestone in people’s politics, as Congress was made to commit itself to resolving the people’s issues though much struggle remains to see that that it is fulfilled.
  • By focusing on increasing voter turnout and minimizing divisions, Eddelu Karnataka played a vital and positive role in consolidating votes in favor of the opposition. A considerable amount of effort went into persuading 49 minority and Dalit community candidates to withdraw from the electoral contest to avoid vote splitting, although specific details will not be shared here. Furthermore, discussions regarding the Congress and JDS should be temporarily halted.
  • Community leaders were advised to vote strategically for candidates with the best chance of defeating the BJP in their respective constituencies, rather than wasting the votes on candidates who are unlikely to win.The collective understanding that each vote should be utilized to remove the BJP from power led to a decrease in vote splitting. It is crucial to acknowledge that this played a pretty good role in achieving favorable outcomes. While the BJP’s vote share saw a slight decrease in this election, non-Congress parties, including JDS, experienced a significant decline. Last time, their combined vote share was 25.51%, which dropped to 21.12% this time, marking a
    reduction of 4.3%. The primary reason behind this phenomenon is the heightened awareness that votes should not be divided or wasted. The role of civil society in fostering this awareness is undoubtedly important.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was unsuccessful in 73 out of the 103 challenging
constituencies where Eddelu Karnataka focused and worked. It should be noted that all the constituencies selected by Eddelu Karnataka were considered tough. It is important to acknowledge that the positive outcome cannot be solely attributed to Eddelu Karnataka, but rather the solid efforts made by Eddelu Karnataka was complementary to it, within these areas. Among the 73 constituencies won by non-BJP candidates, the victory margin in 8 constituencies was less than 5000 votes, while 7 constituencies had a margin of victory between 5,000 and
10,000 votes. Out of the total 15 constituencies, Eddelu Karnataka played a prominent role in securing victory in 12 constituencies. Among these, 7 constituencies were lost by a narrow margin of less than 5000 votes. Additionally, in 6 more constituencies, the non-BJP forces suffered defeat with a margin of 5 to 10 thousand votes. It is evident that if greater attention had been devoted to these 13 constituencies and measures taken to prevent vote division, there
could have been a possibility of retaining them. Despite efforts made in certain areas, the division of votes could not be averted, as witnessed in Chikpet, Harihar, Gangavati, and Bijapur. These instances serve as valuable lessons for the civil society and grassroots communities.

Lessons Learnt

  • Karnataka eddelu experience has been an eye opener for individuals who were previously unfamiliar with the intricacies of election politics. It has been a kind of a transformative journey that made you float above the routine practice with little results and learn anew.
  • The election presented a competition between a minority of well-coordinated negative forces and a majority of unorganized secular forces. Despite being in the majority, the unorganized secular forces would have inevitably faced electoral defeat due to their lack of organization. However, this time dedicated efforts were made to effectively organize and invigorate this unorganized majority. Through this process, we have not only gained
    valuable insights but also imparted a certain knowledge to many others.
  •  In an election characterized by the clash of powerful entities, Eddelu Karnataka has demonstrated the possibilities of connecting with and influencing the public through civil society and ethical politics, transcending the cacophony generated by the politics of money, caste, and hatred.
  • It is truly inspiring to witness the multitude of altruistic forces present within society, spanning across various regions, towns, and villages, who are actively working towards combating these negative forces and fostering unity.
  • This experience has revealed a considerable presence of young individuals who are enthusiastic about volunteering and actively working to combat the prevailing corrupt government.
  • We have made definite progress in utilizing social media to effectively influence public opinion, construct compelling narratives, conduct scientifically sound surveys, and gain insights into the sentiments of the people. However, there is still much more to learn. The significance of mass media in shaping public perception has become increasingly evident and cannot be underestimated.

  • We have acquired valuable knowledge on constructing an extensive network by uniting influential members of society, social and community organizations, as well as the mass media network. It was truly astonishing to witness the far-reaching impact that this collaborative effort can have on society.
  • Moreover, we have received some training in the art of addressing / resolving political divisions that have emerged among the masses. Our focus has been on fostering consensus, encouraging collective decision-making processes and collectively determining the choice of our vote.
  • Eddelu has demonstrated the immense moral strength that can be attained by operating independently of political parties and maintaining financial autonomy while still maintaining association with political entities.
  • Furthermore, we have embarked on a journey of understanding the intricacies of the constituency, analyzing the booth structure, comprehending the composition and characteristics of the masses, and identifying the individuals, issues, and phenomena that exert influence within it. This endeavor is aimed at acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics at play.


  •  Above all, Eddelu Karnataka has established a commendable model of effective intervention by civil society. Its impact has not only instilled hope within Karnataka but has also inspired progressive individuals and organisations in other states.

The significance of Wake Up Karnataka lies not solely in its outcomes, but rather in the spirit it ignited and the valuable lessons it imparted throughout the process. Forces driven by social concerns converged to experiment with people-centered politics. Their efforts extended beyond mere seminars as they actively engaged with thousands of young individuals, formed numerous field teams, conducted independent surveys to gauge public sentiment, efficiently utilized social media, diligently exposed corrupt forces through various means, and brought the people’s issues to the forefront.

Furthermore, they rallied committed political parties, communicated in a manner that resonated with the people, effectively conveyed the three fundamental voting principles, and dedicatedly implemented strategies to prevent vote division. Through these actions, they well contributed to fostering a positive political atmosphere in critical areas and the state as a whole. This impressive journey has left an indelible mark, imparting invaluable experience, empathy, and confidence. All who have been part of the “Eddelu Karnataka” experiment, collectively
shouldered this responsibility and willing to further it.

Even congress party leadership to which our staunch criticism about it remained clear throughout, even as eddelu team strived to work in ways that ultimately went in its favour was vocal in its applause starting with CM. Siddaramaiah.

Satish Jarakiholi, congress minister vociferously put it this way in the large gathering organised by eddelu karnataka to make congress commit itself to people publicly. “It is essential for you to devise a slogan eddelu congress to keep us vigilant. ……we recognize the importance of guidance and correction if we happen to deviate from the right path. The pursuit of social justice is just as crucial as development, and therefore, it is imperative to have a campaign that serves
as a reminder and warning to keep us accountable. Your role is indispensable, as you will consistently act as a watchdog for our government, holding us responsible and pushing us in the right direction. Your vigilant support is crucial to ensure that we serve the interests of the people to the best of our ability. Dr. Parmeshwar, the home minister resonated the same feelings clearly.

From here where it moves depends on may factors, also on how and where we move. The responsibility on us is heavier as expectations have multiplied all around.

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