Bengaluru: In what could potentially be a huge blow to the ruling Congress which had attempted to tap the Lingayat vote by weaning away a section of the upper caste community, the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha (ABVM) has decided at a closed door meeting to launch a statewide campaign to mobilise Veerashaiva/Lingayat voters to defeat the 'forces' which was attempting to divide the community.
On April 28 the campaign will be kicked off simultaneously from five places, Chamarajanagara, Hosakote, Belagavi, Basavakalyana and Koodalasangama and will finally converge at Tumakuru Siddaganga math on May 8.
The ABVM is headed by Congress stalwart Shamanur Shivashankarappa contesting on a Congress ticket from Davanagere South.
The campaign will target Dr Sharanaprakash Patil Sedam, Laxmi Hebbalkar, M.B. Patil, Vinay Kulkarni who had reportedly abused Veerashaiva leaders. The ABVM leaders will also target Dr G. Parameshwara, D.K. Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah fighting from Koratagere, Kanakapura and Chamundeshwari respectively.
Barring coastal districts, the ABVM backed leaders would ask Veerashaiva Lingayats to come and vote in large numbers on May 12, with the unspoken message being to "defeat the forces who tried to drive a wedge between Veerashaivas and Lingayats", sources close to the development told DC.
The ABVM members have forced Shamanoor to give consent though he was hesitant, sources privy to the development said.
ABVM leaders felt Congress leaders who had backed the divisive 'forces' directly should be taught a lesson. Kanakapura has a Lingayat math where around 20,000 Lingayat devotes might work against Mr Shivakumar the Vokkaliga strongman and Congress candidate, sources said....