Lingayat community minority status: Months ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections, the Congress government in Karnataka has pitched for granting minority status for Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community. The Siddaramaiah cabinet has sent the proposal to the central government for final approval. Meanwhile, a political slugfest has erupted over the move between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The ruling party in the state has asked BJP President Amit Shah and BS Yeddyurappa to clarify their stand on the issue. BJP on the other hand, has accused Congress government of playing with fire for vote bank politics. It has alleged that Congress was carrying on the British “Divide and Rule” legacy.
The move will be debated and may become one of the pivotal issues in the upcoming state assembly elections. Take a look at key details of Lingayat community status row.
1. Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community form 17 per cent of Karnataka’s population and considered to be crucial vote bank in the elections.
2. Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community are considered as the strong and traditional voter base of BJP in the southern state.
3. It has been learnt that Karnataka State Minority Commission (KSMC) has recommended this to the cabinet. Earlier, the decision was twice deferred by the Siddaramaiah cabinet.
4. There were reports that ministers and seers of the community were divided on the issue of granting a separate religion status for Lingayats.
5. State Law Minister T B Jayachandra said that after due deliberations and some discussions on concerns of various sections of society, the cabinet has decided to accept the recommendations of the Karnataka State Minority Commission.
6. The recommendation of granting Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayats (Believers of Basava Tatva (philosophy) were taken under section 2 (d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act.
7. The state government has sent its recommendation to the Centre for notifying the minority status to Lingayat community under Section 2(c) of the Central Minority Commission Act.
8. Hitting back at BJP, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that it will be inappropriate to link the government’s move with the upcoming Karnataka Assembly Elections.
9. The Lingayat/Veerashaiva community has a sizeable population in northern parts of Karnataka.
10. One section led by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha has underscored that Lingayats and Veerashaiva are the same and religious status be given to them. The other group claims that the religious state should be only given to Lingayats as Veerashaivas are one of the seven sects of Shaivas. Shaivas is a part of Hinduism.