The BJP would neither interfere in the Lingayat religion issue nor use Kannada language row as a political tool to counter the “polarisation politics” of the Congress in Karnataka, senior BJP leader Suresh Kumar said today. “Congress is playing polarisation politics in Karnataka, and we have a strategy to counter it under the leadership of Amit Shah,” Kumar told reporters after receiving Shah at BJP office here. “We are very, very clear about Lingayat religion issue. The issue will be resolved or solved by that particular community. We don’t want to add, we don’t want to interfere in any manner in this issue,” he said.
The Congress support to a separate religion cause ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls was seen as an attempt to cause damage to the BJP, which enjoys considerable support from the community. The BJP and several sections of the Hindu community were opposed to the move to give Veerashaiva-Lingayat separate religion status and have accused the Siddaramaiah government of dividing the society to draw political mileage ahead of the election due early next year. On Kannada language row, Kumar said “since the days of Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya it has been made very clear that in Karnataka, Kannada is the language which should be given top priority. There is absolutely no confusion here and we don’t want to use it as a political tool”.
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The BJP also does not want to use the language issue as a tool to create hatred towards other communities and sections of the people, Kumar said. Huge protests were staged by pro-Kannada outfits over the use of Hindi on Namma Metro signboards, which also had forced Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to write to the Centre stating the government was compelled to ask Namma Metro to temporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language following a row over its use. The Kannada Development Authority had asked all nationalised, scheduled and rural banks functioning in Karnataka to ensure that all its non-Kannada speaking staff learn the language in six months.
The authority had also asked them to set up Kannada units at all their branches in the state, in line with Hindi units which exist for the implementation of the language. To a query, Kumar said there were no differences between senior party leaders K S Eshwarappa and B S Yeddyurappa, and Yeddyurappa is the chief ministerial candidate of the party.