TUMAKURU: A decade ago, when Siddaramaiah led a 320 km padayatra from Bengaluru to Ballari against illegal mining by Reddy brothers, he emerged as the undisputed Kuruba leader as members of the community, including religious heads, thronged the yatra and wished him to be the CM. Both Siddaramaiah’s and his community’s mission was accomplished as he became the CM between 2013 and 2018.
Now, religious heads — Sri Niranjananandapuri and Eshwaranandapuri — have become the rallying point for the community as they have set off on a 340-km walkathon from Kaginele that was kicked off on January 15. The movement this time is to get the ST tag for the community. As the yatra, which reportedly has the backing of RDPR Minister K S Eshwarappa, reached Tumakuru, leaders from all parties have started extending support.
As soon as the seers reached Sira, former minister T B Jayachandra treated them at his home. Following suit were former DyCM Dr G Parameshwara and Congress leader K N Rajanna. Former MLA S Shafi Ahmed in Tumakuru threw open the campus of his HMSIT Engineering College on Sunday to the Swamis. JD(S) MLA D C Gowrishankar and city BJP MLA G B Jyothiganesh too called on the Swamis.
“I support the padayatra. But as per the Supreme Court’s verdict, the reservation should not exceed 50 per cent. An amendment to the Constitution is required,” Jayachandra said. Community leader H M Revanna said, “It’s an apolitical rally and when it concludes at BIEC on February 7, former CM Siddaramaiah too will take part,” he clarified. It was Eshwarappa who laid the foundation for the rally. Now political observers ask whether Eshwarappa is eyeing the chief minister’s chair.