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Panchamasalis could queer bypoll pitch for BJP in Karnataka 

Koodalasangama Mutt sources said CM Basavaraj Bommai is wary of the Panchamsalis, who dominate his own Shiggaon constituency with around 60,000 community members.

Published: 04th October 2021 03:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2021 04:33 PM   |  A+A-

(From left) Former CM BS Yediyurappa, CM Basavaraj Bommai, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and party national general secretary Arun Singh at the party’s state core committee meeting in BLR.

(From left) Former CM BS Yediyurappa, CM Basavaraj Bommai, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and party national general secretary Arun Singh at the party’s state core committee meeting in BLR.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Sindagi and Hanagal bypolls could prove to be tough going for the BJP, with the Damocles sword of the Lingayat Panchamasalis’ quota demand hanging over the government. The party is wary of the community’s increasingly strident stand on reservation under 2A, and the threat of mass agitation.  The Panchamasali Lingayat subsect forms about 60 per cent of the community, and contributes heavily to the BJP, which has 18 MLAs and two MPs from this denomination. 

Although the government has managed to buy three months’ time, there is still considerable tension about whether the community will continue to support the party. Considering the by-elections to Hanagal and Sindagi are just weeks away, the big question is whether it can bring the BJP government to its knees on the Panchamsali issue. 

Kudalasangama Mutt pontiff Basavajaya Mruthyunjaya swami said, “The BJP lost the bypoll in Maski, where Panchamsalis did not vote for the government, and nearly lost Belagavi, where the Panchamasalis did not vote en bloc for the BJP. I am not a politician to predict how the Panchamasalis will vote, but this much is sure, the community is not happy with this dilly-dallying.’’ 

He explained that BJP Vice-President BY Vijayendra did not cooperate with the community and tried to to put a spoke in the wheel by trying to hinder the protesters time and again, and even tried to stop them from protesting at the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru in February. It may be recalled that Vijayendra was the election in-charge in Maski, where the BJP lost badly. 

Panchamasali Mahasabha president Vijayanand Kashappanavar said, “The community is present in large numbers -- upwards of 50,000 in Hanagal and over 60,000 in Sindagi. People have been waiting for 27 years for reservation, but all we got are promises. Even now, they have promised us and asked us to wait for three months.’’ 

Koodalasangama Mutt sources said CM Basavaraj Bommai is wary of the Panchamsalis, who dominate his own Shiggaon constituency with around 60,000 community members, while his community, Sadhu Lingayat, is very small in comparison. Unless the government is seen as doing something positive for the community, the BJP cannot take its support for granted in every election. 

CM confident of BJP winning bypolls
Ballari: CM Bommai on Sunday expressed confidence of the BJP winning the October 30 bypolls to Hanagal and Sindagi segments. “Hanagal has been our constituency whereas Sindagi is a JDS fort... but take it from me that we are 100% sure of winning both the seats,” Bommai told reporters here. The Chief Minister said the BJP’s scope of winning the poll is bright because it is a disciplined party, which has its cadre from booth-level to the national-level. He said the candidate fielded by the party would get the support of everyone.



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