Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah evidently pulled up water resources minister M B Patil and advised him to tread with caution on the controversial issue of a separate religion tag for Lingayats two days after centenarian Dr Shivakumar Swamiji of Siddaganga Math countered the minister's claim that he had supported the demand for such a status.
Official sources said Mr Siddaramaiah resorted to damage control measures soon after conclusion of the cabinet meeting on Wednesday and discussed the impact of moves of Mr Patil with the minister. The Chief Minister felt that Mr Patil's statement on Siddaganga seer might not go down well with people of the numerically significant community and other people who respect him across the state. So, Mr Siddaramaiah reportedly gave a pep talk to Mr Patil and another minister, Ishwar Khandre, for sabre rattling on the issue. While Mr Patil was backing the demand for separate religion status, Mr Khandre adopted a stand similar to that of Akhila Bharat Veerashaiva Mahasabha that Veerashaivas and Lingayats were just two different terms and therefore opposed the demand besides seeking a clarification from Siddaganga seer on whether he expressed his support when Mr Patil called on him on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Mr Patil issued a statement claiming that the Lingayat religion issue was not discussed in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
He issued the statement on Wednesday evening saying news appearing in a section of the media was far from truth. "There was no discussion on Lingayat religion issue in the cabinet, nor did the Chief Minister give any directions to me," he added.