Leaders of Lingayat movement kept at bay?

Is the Janata Dal (S)–Congress coalition government trying to keep leaders of the Lingayat movement — both those who favoured the separate religion tag and those who opposed it — at bay? A look at the composition of the new State Cabinet seems to indicate so.

Among the strong contenders for the ministerial berths were Congress leader and former Minister M.B. Patil and seven-time MLC from the JD(S) Basavaraj Horatti. Both of them were in the forefront of the Lingayat movement seeking separate religion status. Mr. Horatti is also president of the Jagatika Lingayat mahasabha, an offshoot of the Lingayat movement that took birth after those in the movement felt that the Akhila Bharata veerashaiva mahasabha was not doing much for the cause.


And now, both of them have been kept out of the ministry. It is significant to note that even those within the Congress who opposed the previous government’s move to recommend the ‘religious minority’ status for Lingayat and veerashaiva Lingayat (believers of Basava Tatva) have been kept out of the Cabinet.

The former Minister Eshwar Khandre, Bhalki MLA and national general secretary of the veerashaiva mahasabha, and the former Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Davangere MLA and national president of the veerashaiva mahasabha, have also not been considered for ministerial berths.

However MLAs from the Lingayat community who did not directly participate in the controversial movement have been inducted into the Cabinet. Shivanand Patil, Congress MLA for Basavanabagewadi, and JD(S) MLAs Venkatrao Nadagouda from Sindhanur and M.C. Managuli from Sindagi — all belonging to the Lingayat community — are surprise selections for the ministerial berths.

A tactical move

Political observers feel that it might be a tactical move to steer clear of the controversy, particularly by the JD(S) which did not spell out its stand clearly on the issue before the elections. Probably, both JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy — who have been previously dubbed “anti-Lingayat”, especially after the party broke its promise of handing over power to the BJP in the JD(S)–BJP coalition government — do not want to get into any controversy related to the Lingayat issue, a senior Congress leader said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 2:39:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/leaders-of-lingayat-movement-kept-at-bay/article24101627.ece

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