The tallest political leader of the Lingayat community and former CM B.S. Yeddyurappa with the seer of Siddaganga Math, Shivakumara Swamiji in a file photo.
Kalaburagi: Is the dominant Lingayat community in the state cracking up and losing its much touted unity which had till now ensured that it played a pivotal role in state politics?
After Panchamashalis, Banajigas, and Sadaras, it's the turn of the Reddy Lingayats to form their own organisation. Leading them is Transport Minister, R Ramalinga Reddy, who wants to unite all Reddys of the state for their own "benefit and welfare."
"The Reddys appear different in various parts of the state because they have adopted local customs and practices. But basically they are the same. We are trying to bring all of them under one umbrella so that proper attention is paid to their welfare and development. If the community is united, it can demand its due, " explained Mr Reddy, who along with the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Shivashankar Reddy and others, is visiting various districts to persuade community leaders to support the movement.
Surprisingly, prominent Lingayat Reddy leaders such as former Union Minister, Basavaraj Patil Anwari, former Minister, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur, and former Speaker, Chandrashekhar Reddy Deshmukh Madana are not backing the minister, who however, appears unfazed.
He is banking on the Reddys convention of January 29 in Bengaluru being organised by the Reddy Jana Sangha forging greater unity in the community.
The convention comes close on the heels of a similar meet held at Kudalasangama by the Lingayat Reddys , who are not only sizeable in number but also economically powerful, belonging to the landowning class in parts of Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Ballari, Bagalkote, Bijapur and other districts.
Their contention is that the sub-sect, which once had six MPs and 20 MLAs in the state, has been left with only a few MLAs to represent it.
Attributing the decline of the sub-sect's dominance to lack of unity among its members, some of its prominent leaders besides the minister, have taken upon themselves the responsibility of bringing the community under one umbrella.
"Though the Lingayat Reddys are spread over six or seven districts, they are sidelined by other sub-sects such as the Panchamashalis, Banajigas, and Sadaras. When these sub-sects have their own organisations, why not us?" asked a prominent Reddy leader.