Congress leaders meet to control damage over Lingayat row

Senior leaders discuss forming an expert panel to look into legalities of religion tag.

Published: 14th September 2017 03:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2017 07:34 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: A day after a gaffe by Water Resources Minister M B Patil claiming that the Siddaganga Mutt senior pontiff Shivakumara Swamiji had favoured a separate Lingayat religion, leaders of the Lingayat-Veerashaiva camps met at Medical Education Minister Sharanprakash Patil’s official residence in Jayamahal to reach a consensus over their respective demands.

However, the meeting failed to arrive at a consensus. Minister Patil was not present.
Senior  leaders from both camps said that an expert committee will be constituted to look into the legalities and feasibility of having a separate religion. Among other aspects that need to be discussed are nomenclature and what the religion actually prescribes.The All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha considers Lingayats as part of Veerashaiva sect. Now, the organisation wants a separate status for Veerashaiva-Lingayat together.

Lingayat seers, however, do not consider themselves as part of either Veerashaiva or Hinduism.
Minister of State for Municipalities and Local  Bodies, Eshwara Bheemanna Khandre, who is also secretary general of the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, told reporters after the meeting, “We will need to have more meetings. We still have to discuss about our respective opinions. Till  we reach a consensus, our members are requested not to go the media with  their personal opinions.”

Minister for Higher Education Basavaraj Rayareddy, who is also one of the five ministers in the Siddaramaiah cabinet batting for a separate Veerashaiva-Lingayat religion, said, “We will form an expert committee that will look into the legalities of having a separate religion. In our first meeting we have made progress, just enough for a preamble. We are all one, nobody is  our enemy here. We are all friends.”
Mahasabha president Shamanur Shivashankarappa and Karnataka unit chief N Thippanna reitereated the decision. Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni, Aland MLA B R Patil,  JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti and retired IAS officer SM Jamdar  were among those present.

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