In what can be seen as a big boost to Congress ahead of the assembly elections in the state, Karnataka's Lingayat Mutt has backed Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah's move granting minority status to the electorally dominant community in the state. The development comes as an embarrassment for the BJP as the statement from the influential Murugha Mutt came in a written reply to party president Amit Shah. The Matha (or mutt) communicated to Shah that it was against the BJP\u2019s plans to unite Lingayat religious institutions against the ruling Congress. \u201cThe government of Karnataka has rightly recommended to the central backward commission (National Commission For Backward Classes ) in this regard,\u201d Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the head seer said in a letter to Shah. Matha\u2019s backing of the minority religion status came hours after BJP chief's visit. The saffron party had stood firmly against Congress' move to grant minority status to Lingayats. Shah had termed the move as Congress' bid to divide Hindu unity. However, Murgha Matha's letter categorically said that move will not divide but unite the members of the community. \u201cIt is not a step to divide the community but a measure to unite the already sub-divided sub caste followers in Lingayaths, a religious group having special tenets or culture on the lines of revolution of Sharanas of 12th century AD Karnataka,\u201d it read. On March 23, the Siddaramaiah-led state government had notified the minority religion status to the followers of 12th-century social reformer Basava. The saffron party, whose chief ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, termed Congress move as an attempt to divide the Hindu votes. Shah was on a two-day visit to Karnataka since Monday. The BJP president met several seers and interacted with coconut and areca nut growers and traders in the district during the visit. He also held road shows and visiting other Mutts in the interior districts of the state. Further details awaited.