Dingaleshwar Swami exits poll race

He had given a call to Lingayat leaders to unite against Pralhad Joshi, and he himself got into the fray to defeat the BJP candidate.
Dingaleshwar Swami
Dingaleshwar SwamiPhoto | Special Arrangement

DHARWAD: Dingaleshwar Swamiji of Balehosur Mutt in Gadag district, who was contesting as an independent from the Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency, on Monday withdrew from the contest. The decision came as a surprise as the seer had refused to heed calls by leaders of BJP and Congress not to contest the elections. The decision has now downed the curtains on confusion and curiosity among Lingayat comm-unity voters in the constituency.

After the elections were announced, the seer had strongly opposed the candidature of Union Minister Pralhad Joshi from BJP and demanded a change in the candidate, citing injustice to the Lingayat community.

He had given a call to Lingayat leaders to unite against Joshi, and he himself got into the fray to defeat the BJP candidate. But his sudden move has given several talking points to the public.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, the seer said he is abiding by his core concept of opposing Joshi and called it a Dharma Yudha which will continue. He has taken back his nomination papers going by the advice of the senior pontiff, he added.

“I will not back any party, though leaders from both parties have sought my support. Earlier too I have not got into such politics and I will continue to remain that way. I have received calls from both party leaders, including the present and former chief minister,” he added.

However, people pointed out that the seer had not withdrawn from the contest, when leaders from both Congress and BJP had requested him. “We feel that there might be some pressure which forced the seer to take back his nomination. Otherwise, he would have contested, immaterial of the outcome,” they added.

National party leaders said such developments are expected during elections.

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