Vijayapura: Enraged at senior Congress leader, M B Patil’s failure to make it to the Cabinet, one of his supporters tried to set himself on fire in Bableshwar on Wednesday and several members of the Gram Panchayats and Vijayapura Zilla Panchayat resigned from their posts in protest.
While kerosene was brought in cans to set tyres on fire during an agitation at Basaveshwar Circle in Vijayapura by Basava Sene members against Mr Patil and MLC, Basavaraj Horatti’s exclusion from the Cabinet, one supporter of the former, Rajesh Maitali, grabbed a can of kerosene and poured it on himself, but was quickly stopped by other agitators from setting light to himself.
Meanwhile, Basava Sene leaders like Dr Ravi Biradar alleged that Mr Patil and Mr Horatti, who were fighting for a separate religion status for Lingayats, were being sidelined to suppress the movement. A large number of Lingayat seers and leaders of Vijayapur-Bagalkot too claimed that the Congress was trying to derail the Lingayat movement that Mr Patil had spearheaded last year by keeping him out of the Cabinet.
"If the formation of the Cabinet is closely analysed, it becomes clear that attempts have been made to derail the Lingayat movement for a separate religion. The MLAs who supported it it have been totally sidelined by the Congress party,'' said Mr Patil’s supporters.
Although he was not available for comment, his associates claimed he was not keen on becoming a Minister if he was not given the Water
Resources portfolio again. And when it became clear that it would go to Mr D K Shivakumar, he withdrew from the race, they said.
The MLA is reported to have attended a meeting of around a dozen disgruntled MLAs of the party at a private hotel in Bengaluru following the Cabinet expansion.