Lingayats to Karnataka CM: Ensure religion tag before polls

The Lingayat leaders have postponed the final rally to be held in Bengaluru from December 10 to the first week of January.

Hubballi: Various Lingayat leaders and religious heads have urged CM Siddaramaiah to ensure separate religion status for Lingayat before the forthcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka.

Addressing a mammoth rally in Hubballi where around fifty thousand people converged on Sunday, they asserted that the state government should send a recommendation to the Centre before the poll code of conduct comes into force.

Stating that both the Veerashaiva Mahasabha and Pancha Peetha will be held responsible if the community is divided in the fight for the minority tag, they said that all efforts for negotiations with them have failed and appealed to them to join hands with Lingayats in their movement when the rallies are in the final stage.

The seers also called upon people of the community not to cast their votes for any political party if it does not promise independent religion tag in its manifesto.
Hitting out at Veerashaiva Mahasabha leaders for their public criticism of Lingayat leaders and seers, JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti denied the charge that the agitation had taken a political turn.

Challenging the Mahasabha to produce evidence that both Lingayats and Veerashaivas are the same, he said the movement for independent religion status was launched with proper historic records and proof.

The Lingayat leaders wondered why Veerashaivas are not accepting Basavanna as the founder of the religion and Vachana as their holy book when they have submitted the fact in writing to the Centre and Supreme Court. Lambasting BJP leader Prabhakar Kore, water resource minister M.B. Patil said that he does not have the strength to even win a gram panchayat election.

Challenging Kore to contest against him in any election, he urged the BJP leader to step down as chairman of KLE if he cannot support the demand for religion tag as the foundation for the institution was laid by the seven teachers called Saptharishis over a century ago. Urging people of the community not to have marital ties with those who oppose religion tag, woman seer Mathe Mahadevi said that prominent Veerashaiva leaders including Shamanur Shivashankarappa fear a loss to their educational institutions if they support the movement.

Maintaining that the movement is not against any political party or Hindu religion, she claimed that its primary motto is to provide justice to the downtrodden within the Lingayat community.

The seer denied charges of the Mahasabha leaders that they are being offered inducements to take part in the rallies. Minister Vinay Kulkarni warned of an agitation against all Lingayat seers who fail to take part in the movement. The Lingayat leaders have postponed the final rally to be held in Bengaluru from December 10 to the first week of January.

Jaya Mrithyunjaya Swamiji of Kudal Sangam Panchamasali peetha has stoked controversy saying 'The person who is born to five fathers is a Veerashaiva and the one who is born to one father is a Lingayat'. Later. the seer expressed regret for his statement after widespread anger saying that 'his reference to five fathers was to Pancha Peetha and one father to Guru Basavanna'. Earlier he was involved in a war of words with Veerashaiva Mahasabha president Shamanuru Shivashankarappa who had accused the seer of bowing to inducements from Lingayat leaders.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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