In a statement that could have a large bearing on the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday said the ruling party will not allow division of Veerashaiva-Lingayat communities.
"We will not allow the division of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat communities, Shah said while meeting Veerashaiva seers in Bagalkote.
“After four-and-a-half years, Siddaramaiah has made this move. This is nothing but a conspiracy to mislead people before the elections and stopping BS Yeddyurappa from becoming chief minister. BJP and people understand this conspiracy and will not let this happen," the BJP president said.
Earlier on March 19, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka agreed to the recommendation of the Nagamohan Das Committee to grant a religious minority status to the Lingayat community.
The Siddaramaiah government then sent a proposal to the Union government to grant a religious minority status to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat.
However, after Shah’s statement in front of Veerashaiva seers, the chances of the proposal being approved by the Centre are very dim.
Lingayats are the followers of 12th-century saint Basavanna. There are two major factions of the community, the Veerashaivas and those who want to be recognised only as Lingayats.
The Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community comprises 17 per cent of Karnataka’s total population. BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa is also a Lingayat.