BENGALURU: After being pushed on the backfoot over the separate state flag issue, the Siddaramaiah government has come up with another issue to outflank the BJP in a poll year. It is now leading the charge to get a separate religion tag for the Veerashaiva Lingayat community.
In a move that could have huge social and political impact ahead of the forthcoming Assembly election in the state, five ministers belonging to the Veerashaiva community in the Sidddaramaiah cabinet have decided to take the lead in evolving public opinion in favour of declaring Veerashaiva Lingayat community as a separate religion.
The team comprising Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy, Minister for Mining Vinay Kulkarni, Minister for Medical Education Sharan Prakash Patil, Minister for Municipal Administration Eshwar Khandre and Horticulture Minister S S Mallikarjun is set to tour the state soon to bring greater momentum for the movement for a separate religion. They are set to meet Veerashaiva Lingayat leaders, Lingayat mutts’ heads and social thinkers to seek their opinion on the demand.
Based on the response, the team will submit a memorandum to Siddaramaiah urging him to recommend to the Centre to declare Veerashaiva Lingayat a separate religion. Announcing the initiative, Rayareddy, however, clarified that it was not an official move of the government. “All the five of us are from the Veerashaiva Lingayat community and it is our community-based initiative to get the much-delayed religion status to the community,” he said.