BENGALURU: “Jai Panchamasali’’, the greeting that asserts the Panchamasali identity, does not sound sweet to BJP anymore. The Lingayat sub-sect, which was not so well identified and organised, is holding preparatory meetings in many districts of north Karnataka ahead of a mega-showdown in Bengaluru on December 12. Panchamsalis are demanding reservation under Backward 2A category.
As the numbers could be upwards of 20 lakh, community leaders are thinking of finding a bigger venue than the Bengaluru Palace Grounds for the protest. Panchamsali pontiff Basava Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swami convened preparatory meetings on Friday to motivate supporters from Belagavi, Raichur, Koppal and Vijayapura.
The community is holding the protest ahead of the Assembly elections, where it will be the deciding factor in 40 seats.
Political analyst BS Murthy said, “Key Lingayat leaders may be leaning towards Congress and it has given rise to suspicion that it is carefully engineered. One should not ignore the shadow of Yediyurappa in these movements. UB Banakar recently quit all posts in BJP and is keen to join Congress and contest from Hirekerur. VL Patil from Yellapur too is eyeing a Congress ticket. Raju Kage is already on board. Yediyurappa’s silence over the issue has given rise to suspicion that some leaders may have his blessings.”
Most of the constituencies where Panchamasalis are in large numbers are dominated by Lingayat leaders from other sub-sects leading to complaints from the former over being left out, which will not help BJP in the polls.