Congress Lingayat leaders meet, seek recognition
The party has seized on Yediyurappa’s removal to play on the community’s emotions. “The BJP and RSS have misused the trust of Lingayat leaders.
Published: 24th September 2021 05:51 AM | Last Updated: 24th September 2021 05:51 AM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: Scenting disillusionment with the BJP among Lingayats, the Congress is making renewed efforts to woo the community, especially with former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa now dethroned. Congress Lingayat leaders, led by heavyweight former ministers Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Eshwar Khandre and MB Patil, held a meeting in Bengaluru on Thursday to discuss how to build a Lingayat narrative within the Congress in time for the 2023 assembly elections.
The party has seized on Yediyurappa’s removal to play on the community’s emotions. “The BJP and RSS have misused the trust of Lingayat leaders. They forced former CM Yediyurappa out of power and treated him with disrespect. We want to attract more Lingayats to the Congress fold and bring the party back to power,” Former Youth Congress president Basangouda Badarli said.
The agenda of the meeting was primarily to ensure that the Congress is able to attract more community members, especially the youth, before the assembly elections. They want to work out a proper plan of action, gain greater support from mutt seers, and take up party responsibilities.
The other leaders who attended the meeting were Vijay Mathikatti, Anand Angadi Gaddedeveramat, Sharanappa Matoor, Chandrashekar Patil, Nagaraj Chebbi, Allamaprabhu Patil, Anil Patil, Prakash Koliwad, Anil Kumar Thadkal, Mahantesh M P Prakash, Latha M P Prakash, Arun M B Patil, Dinesh Shivamogga, among others.
They informed the party that Lingayat leaders need to be recognised and nurtured, and also complained that they felt discriminated against when positions and responsibilities were being assigned. Barring senior Lingayat leaders the others feel neglected. Most Congress Lingayat MLAs were defeated by BJP in North Karnataka, and some had lost by very narrow margins. They suggested that with a better Lingayat narrative, they can easily get more votes.
Former MLC Nagaraj Chebbi said, “The lack of Lingayat leadership within the Congress needs to be addressed. Those who have been denied rightful opportunities have to be identified and the central leadership needs to understand this. KPCC President D K Shivakumar has given considerable support and met many Lingayat pontiffs. We have spoken to CLP leader Siddaramaiah too.’’
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