Mysuru: Former CM Siddaramaiah on Saturday said he was prodded by Lingayat leaders to recommend reservation for them, and that his government's recommendation to the Union government on granting religious minority status led to the Opposition launching a false propaganda against him.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Nalanda Buddha University near Yedabetta in Chamarajnagar district, he remarked: “When I was the CM, seers following Basaveshwara’s philosophy insisted that I give the religion tag to the Lingayat sect. It was they who persuaded me.”
Recollecting how Buddhism and various sects emerged to give social justice to the downtrodden, Mr Siddaramaiah recalled how the movement to recommend grant of religion tag to Lingayats gained momentum ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls. He said the head of the Lingayat and Veerashaiva sects had demanded that the new religion be named either Lingayat or Veerashaiva. As a middle path suggested by prominent Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa and endorsed by other Lingayat leaders, it was decided the new sect be known as Lingayat Veerashaiva sect, who have faith in Basaveshwara. "What was wrong in that? What was my mistake? But that led to false propaganda against me (by BJP) That's the reason that I am very careful while talking about religion," he said.
The state cabinet had, on March 19, decided to recommend to the Union government to grant of religious minority tag for the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community.
The decision was based on the report of an expert committee that had recommended considering grant of recognition as religious minority to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayats (Believers of Basava Tatva (philosophy). Subsequently, the Karnataka minorities welfare department notified the Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats as a religious minority, but said it would come into effect after the Centre’s approval of the state’s recommendation.