In continuation of the divide and rule policy of the Congress, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recommended a separate minority religion tag for the Lingayat community in a desperate bid to retain power in the southern state. Earlier, a panel constituted by the state government had submitted a report recommending a separate religion tag for the Lingayats.
Law Minister, T.B. Jayachandran, said quoting the cabinet decision, “After due deliberations and some discussion on concerns of various sections of society cabinet has decided to accept the recommendations of the state minority commission which based on the report of an expert committee headed by Justice Nagamohan Das has recommended to consider grant of recognition as religious minority to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat, believers of Basava Tattva, under Section 2(d) of the Karnataka Minorities Act. It was also decided to forward the same to the Central government for notifying under Section 2(d) of the Central Minority Commission Act.”
The move will have a significant impact in the Assembly Elections looming around the corner. Lingayats account for almost 17% of Karnataka’s population. BJP Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa himself belongs to the Lingayat community. The community has been one of the biggest support bases for the Saffron party in the state. Sidaramaiah’s recommendation of a separate religion tag is seen as an effort towards undermining support for the BJP among the voters from the community.
Recently, Siddaramaiah had fanned the North-South divide claiming in an article that the ‘developed south is subsidizing populated north’. Not so long ago, the Chief Minister had also raised the bogey of ‘Hindi imposition’ in an effort to undermine the BJP in the state. With the Assembly elections around the corner, it appears that the Congress government will stop at no odds to retain power in the state.