Covert efforts on to establish a third Panchamasali platform

Veena V. Kashappanavar, Sri Basavajaya Mrutyunjaya Swami, Sri Vachananand Swami and former MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar at a public meeting at Palace Ground in Bengaluru, demanding inclusion of Panchamasali community in 2A category.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN


While the Lingayat-Panchamasali movement for reservation under 2A category in the OBC list in Karnataka is yet to achieve its goal, a few leaders of the community have begun covert efforts to establish a separate platform, as an alternative to the existing two peethas (seat of religious knowledge) of the community.

Around 30 seers of various mutts of the Panchamasali community recently met at the residence of a community member at Jamakhandi in Bagalkot district to draw up a blueprint.

Prior to this, a preliminary meeting had been held at Kakamari Mutt in Athani taluk of Belagavi district where the idea was mooted. The seers, who participated in the preliminary meeting, reportedly expressed displeasure over functioning of the existing peethas and emphasised the need for a separate platform as an alternative.

Embarrassment to BJP

The root cause of the development seems to be the embarrassment caused to leaders of the Lingayat Panchamasali community in the BJP-led government.

Earlier in February 2021, despite pleas from prominent Ministers and community leaders, the ‘Panchamasali Padayatra’ seeking 2A reservation for the community did not stop till it reached Bengaluru. Some believe that the anti-B.S. Yediyurappa faction in the BJP played a role by keeping the emotional issue alive and in the limelight.

Panchamasali members arrive in Bengaluru as part of a padayatra that began in Vijayapura demanding inclusion of the community in the 2A category, in February 2021.

Panchamasali members arrive in Bengaluru as part of a padayatra that began in Vijayapura demanding inclusion of the community in the 2A category, in February 2021.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN


The Panchamasali community has two peethas in the State: one at Koodalasangama in Bagalkot district in north Karnataka and the other at Harihar in Davanagere district in central Karnataka. From the day of their establishment, these peethas have not seen eye to eye on various issues. Yet, during the ‘Panchamasali Movement’ in February 2021, heads of both these peethas came together burying their differences to pursue the demand for reservation.

The movement put the ruling disposition in an embarrassing position with BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal taking Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa head on in the floor of the House. Despite pleas from Panchamasali Ministers, the agitation continued even after reaching Bengaluru. The agitation was suspended only after the matter was referred to the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission.

Minister’s hand?

According to reliable sources, all these developments have forced one of the Ministers, who had earned the wrath of the community during the movement demanding reservation, to embark on creation of a platform to nurture his political aspirations. The presence of this Minister’s brother at the seers’ meetings in Jamakhandi and Kakamari Mutt has only strengthened this line of thinking.

However, considering the sensitivity of the issue, political leaders and seers have refrained from commenting on the development.

Sri Basavajaya Mrutyunjaya Swami of Panchamasali Peetha, Koodalasangama told The Hindu, “I am neither aware of the two meetings, nor has this peetha got anything to do with the outcome of the meetings. But, I will keep fighting for our demand for 2A reservation.”

Meanwhile, there is speculation about the others who had a hand in making the two meetings happen. The participants of the meetings included Siddhalinga Swami of Shivanand Mutt of Nelogi, Mahadev Swami of Babaleshwar, and Sanganabasava Swami of Managuli. Seers from branches of Veerashaiva Mutts of Rambhapuri Peetha, who aligned with the BJP during the controversy triggered by Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s proposal for separate religion status for the Lingayat community, had also participated in the meetings.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 6:20:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covert-efforts-on-to-establish-a-third-panchamasali-platform/article35012911.ece

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