Bengaluru: A casual meeting between the BJP’s CM candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa and senior Congress leader and former minister Shamanoor Shivashankarappa has set off speculation about the two Lingayat bigwigs coming together on the Lingayat religion issue to strengthen the anti-Siddaramaiah camp.
A section of the media had reported that Mr Shivashankarappa was even invited to join the BJP. However, he clarified that he had been in the Congress for 50 years and would not leave it even taking a swipe at the BJP state president saying, "If Mr Yeddyurappa wants to join the Congress party, he is free to do so."
When contacted Mr Shivashankarappa explained the chronology of events which led to the speculation and said they had both participated in a function at the Siddaganga math in Tumakuru. "Both of us were on the dais. Mr Yeddyurappa spoke about his stand on the Lingayat religion issue. Then, the Swamiji asked us to have lunch and we stayed back and discussed general issues." However, sources close to the leaders claimed that they had discussed the Lingayat issue and the possibility of the Siddaramaiah led cabinet approving the recommendations of the Justice Nagamohandas panel for minority religion status to the Lingayats, at its next meeting.
Mr Shivashankarappa and Mr Yeddyurappa also reportedly discussed how the CM had consolidated his position in the Congress party at the cost of other leaders.