Vokkaliga Sangha leaders stand by Sadananda Gowda
The present crisis in the Bharatiya Janata Party that has surfaced following the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa remaining adamant that he should be immediately reinstated as Chief Minister in the place of incumbent D. V. Sadananda Gowda, has taken a caste twist with some of the religious heads and community leaders entering the political scene.
Mr. Yeddyurappa has been trying to organise his community of Lingayats. In fact, the pontiffs who attended his birthday celebrations recently had publicly sought his reappointment as Chief Minister.
As soon as Mr. Yeddyurappa took MLAs from his camp to a resort on Sunday to pressure the BJP leadership to reinstate him immediately, Adi Chunchanagiri Math Pontiff Balagangadharanatha Swami expressed concern over the development and extended his support to the Chief Minister who belongs to his community of Vokkaligas.
On the same day, a Lingayat pontiff in Bangalore announced support to Mr. Yeddyurappa.
This polarisation of support continued on Monday with office-bearers of the Vokkaligara Sangha meeting Mr. Gowda at his official residence in Bangalore and expressing support.
BJP MLA Shankaralinge Gowda who met the Chief Minister along with the Vokkaligara Sangha delegation told mediapersons that the sangha leaders would protest if the BJP leadership yields to the pressure tactics of Mr. Yeddyurappa and removes Mr. Gowda.
Vishwa Vokkaligara Okkoota held its leaders' meeting, in which it was decided to stage a protest against Mr. Yeddyurappa for repeatedly seeking Mr. Gowda's resignation.
Party circles feel that the ongoing development may lead to political polarisation on caste lines.
Perhaps realising that the stand of the Vokkaligara Sangha and the Adichunchanagiri pontiff may come in the wake of mustering the support of Vokkaliga MLAs, the Yeddyurappa camp was quick to clarify that it had not resorted to caste politics and that it believed in secular principles.