Eye on polls? From London, PM Modi dials Karnataka, woos Lingayats with tribute to Basaveshwara

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Updated: April 18, 2018 5:32 PM

Narendra Modi in London: With the Assembly polls in Karnataka just around the corner, the PM today paid floral tributes to the bust of 12th century Lingayat philosopher Basaveshwara.

modi in londonPM Narendra Modi pays tributes to Bhagwan Basaveshwara in London on Wednesday. (Twitter/@PMO).

Karnataka election 2018: With the Assembly polls in the state just around the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid floral tributes to the bust of 12th century Lingayat philosopher Basaveshwara at Albert Embankment Gardens in London.

Lingayats are one of the most electorally significant communities in the state of Karnataka. By fielding Lingayat candidate for the chief minister’s post, the BJP was hoping the Lingayats would automatically choose one of their own – BS Yeddyurappa.

The saffron party’s plan, however, has been shaken by the Congress’ clever move of granting a separate religious identity to Lingayats. The state government led by Congress leader Siddaramaiah recently cleared an order in this regard, putting the BJP-led Centre in a fix on whether to accept the proposal or not.

On its part, the BJP has stepped up its campaign and attacks on the Congress. BJP chief Amit Shah today paid tributes to the Lingayat icon’s statue in Karnataka, while PM Modi did this in London. Interestingly, the prime minister had inaugurated the bust of Basaveshwara in London during his last visit to the UK in 2015.

Karnataka is celebrating Basava Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Basaveshwara, which is a public holiday in Karnataka, today. On Wednesday, state police prevented an attempt by a group of people to stage a demonstration near a Basaveshwara statue before Shah’s visit.

Ahead of the Karnataka election 2018, the BJP has upped the ante against the Congress, accusing the Grand Old Party of defaming the Hindus. All of this started after a Hyderabad court acquitted accused Swami Aseemanand and other in the case.

Shah today attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the latter’s apology. Shah accused the Congress of defaming the country in the name of “saffron terror and Hindu terror”.

“Congress had committed the ‘sin’ of “linking the great Hindu culture with terrorism. “The great Hindu culture taught the world about culture, peace, and civilization for lakhs of years, and the Congress party has committed a sin by linking it to saffron terror,” PTI quoted Shah as saying.

A report by The Indian Express today quoted BJP sources as saying that the saffron party has planned to corner the Congress over the issue of “saffron terror” in the upcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well.

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