Divide within cabinet over Lingayat issue

Chief minister was forced to defer meeting after ministers Khandre and Mallikarjun threatened to resign

Published: 09th March 2018 01:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2018 03:36 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Differences have erupted within the Siddaramaiah cabinet over accepting the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee report recommending ‘religious minority’ tag for the Lingayat community. The ongoing confrontation between the Veerahsaiva and Lingayat leaders hit the cabinet too on Thursday night. As arguments showed signs of escalating, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah intervened and decided to defer the decision on the issue. 

The state cabinet which met here on Thursday night witnessed heated arguments over the issue of accepting the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee report. Municipal Administration Minister Eshwar Khandre and Horticulture Minister S S Mallikarjun strongly opposed the report which recommends ‘religious minority’ tag for Lingayats. The two ministers who have their loyalty to Veerashaiva Mahasabha, which is opposing the separate religion tag for Lingayats, reportedly threatened to even resign from the ministry if the report is accepted.

This forced  Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to defer the decision.
The ongoing confrontation between the Veerashaiva and Lingayat leaders hit the cabinet on Thursday night. According to sources, the stormy arguments erupted when Minister for Mining Vinay Kulkarni made a strong pitch for accepting the report. Nagamohan Committee last week submitted its report to the Karnataka State Minorities Commission (KSMC) in which it recommended ‘religious minority’ status to the Lingayat community. 

As arguments showed signs of escalating to an unhealthy level, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah intervened and decided to defer the decision on the issue. Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said, “The cabinet had a prolonged discussion on the Nagmohan Das committee report and the discussions remained inconclusive... The issue will be further discussed at the next cabinet meeting on March 14 and appropriate decision will be taken,” Jayachandra said.The divide within the Cabinet over the issue has all the potential to upset Siddaramaiah’s calculations to accept the report in a hurry and use it as an effective poll issue to dent BJP’s Veerashaiva-Lingayat voter base. 

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