Karnataka

Religious, political pressure behind seer’s decision to step away from fray

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Religious and political pressure forces HDK to appeal for seer stepping back

The Janata Dal (Secular) gamble in Hirekerur of fielding a Lingayat seer against BJP’s B.C. Patil seems to have backfired with the seer deciding to withdraw from the fray following religious and political pressure.

Under pressure from seers of Pancha Peetha, Sri Shivalinga Shivacharya Swami of Kabbinakanti Mutt, Rattihalli, decided to withdraw, said sources. Though an official statement on the move was yet to be made, it is learnt that he has conveyed his decision to his aides.

The development comes after former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy appealed to the seer on Tuesday evening to withdraw from the contest. The party had sprung a surprise by giving him ticket on Monday instead of its earlier announced candidate Ujneppa Jayappa Kodihalli.

Former MLA and JD(S) leader N.H. Konaraddi, who visited the mutt in Haveri district on Tuesday night, told The Hindu that at the direction of Mr. Kumaraswamy, he had gone to the mutt to convey to the devotees that it was left to the seer whether to contest or not and that the party would not object if he decided to withdraw.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, Mr. Kumaraswamy announced that he had appealed to the seer to withdraw from the race. “Some have pressurised the seer to withdraw. I have told him that he could contest in the elections without affecting his religious work. The (BJP) government has used some heads of mutts to put pressure on him,” he told presspersons after the legislature party meeting. Mr. Kumaraswamy said: “Because of all these, I have told him to withdraw from the race. Other mutt seers should not be angry angry with my political move. I have also requested that there should be no misinformation campaign against me.”

Sources in the party said that the decision of Mr. Kumaraswamy to request the seer to withdraw from the fray comes in the light of intense pressure from religious leaders and also party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda favouring the move. The party reading was also that it could avoid wading into the already-complicated Lingayat issue.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumaraswamy also said that even at the cost of Congress candidates winning the election, the party has decided to ensure the defeat of BJP candidates, who earlier were a reason for the fall of his government.

He said: “The win of the disqualified legislators will be a mockery of democracy. We are hopeful of the party performing better than the Congress and the BJP.”

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 10:03:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/religious-political-pressure-behind-seers-decision-to-step-away-from-fray/article30020134.ece

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