Hubballi: Prominent Lingayat seer, Mathe Mahadevi alleged on Wednesday that Shivakumar Swami of the Tumakuru Siddaganga Mutt had changed his tune on the separate religious tag for the community after BJP leaders like its state party president, B S Yeddyurappa and former minister V Somanna promised him the Bharat Ratna in exchange for toeing their line on the controversial issue.
Speaking to reporters in Bagalkot, she claimed she had confirmed information on this and would prove her charges soon. Claiming that the the swamiji's memory was failing due to old age, she contended that some people were trying to misuse this for their own ends.
"BJP leaders have got the signature of Dr Shivakumar Swamiji on a piece of paper after writing whatever they wanted on it. They have exerted pressure on him to stay neutral on the issue of an independent religious tag by offering him the Bharat Ratna. The Akhil Bharat Veerashaiva Mahasabha has also hatched a conspiracy on the issue. We have a lot of respect for swamiji and he should not change his statement just for an award," the Mathe pleaded.
Disputing the Tumakuru seer's claim that Lingayats and Veerashaivas were one and the same, she observed that the Siddaganga Mutt had represented only the Lingayats for centuries. " Lingayats will welcome Veerashaivas if they accept that Basavanna is the master of the Lingayat religion and follow his vachanas. We are not going to found a new religion as the Lingayat religion already exits. We only want the Constitution to recognise and will not stop our fight even if Veerashaiva leaders conspire against us," she asserted.