Lingayat issue: Congress made a big mistake, says Karnataka state minister DK Shivakumar

By: | Published: October 18, 2018 6:31 PM

In a major embarrassment to the Congress Party, senior party leader and Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar admitted that the previous Congress government in the state made a big mistake and it should not have interfered in the Lingayat issue ahead of the polls.

“Our government committed a big mistake. Political parties shouldn’t interfere in religious matters,” Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar. (File Photo)

In a major embarrassment to the Congress Party, senior party leader and Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar admitted that the previous Congress government in the state made a big mistake and it should not have interfered in the Lingayat issue ahead of the polls.

“Our government committed a big mistake. Political parties shouldn’t interfere in religious matters. Many ministers and leaders spoke about it but election verdict is proof, it was a mistake,” news agency ANI reported, quoting him as saying. The state minister did not stop there and opined that no political party should do politics with religion.

He made this remark while speaking at the ‘Dasara Sammelan’ of the Rambhapuri Seer Veera Someshwara Shivacharya Swami in Gadag on Wednesday.

Reiterating to what he said on Wednesday, Shivakumar, who served as the Minister of Energy in the previous regime, said, “I stand by my statement. Politicians should be away from religion.”

Stating his remarks were from his heart and conscious, the state minister said, “It was a dharma sabha, I thought it was the right time to apologise. It was a statement from my heart and conscious.”

Shivakumar’s admission came five months after the Karnataka Assembly elections, which saw a fractured mandate by the voters and formation of a coalition government in the state. CM Siddaramaiah-led state government had accorded a minority religion status to Lingayats on March 19.

The Congress government took the decision based on the recommendations of an expert committee that studied proposals by Lingayat and Veerashaiva groups. The two groups were eager to dissociate themselves from Hinduism and become a minority religion.

The move, however, backfired and the BJP managed to get a huge share of seats in the north-western region of Karnataka in the state Assembly polls.

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