Lingayats disappointed with only MoS portfolio for community

Despite the community backing BJP for the last 20 years in Karnataka, it has not been given a single cabinet rank position till now, community leaders said.
The former member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and a first-timer in the Parliament, V. Somanna takes oath.
The former member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and a first-timer in the Parliament, V. Somanna takes oath. (Photo | YouTube / DD India)

BENGALURU: Lingayats feel sidelined by the Central Government in the formation of the government.

Despite the community backing BJP for the last 20 years in Karnataka, it has not been given a single cabinet rank position till now, community leaders said.

V Somanna, a Lingayat — who won from the Tumakuru Lok Sabha constituency, has been made Minister of State for Railways.

All-India Veerashaiva Mahasabha Secretary Renuka Prasanna said two Brahmins — Nirmala Sitharaman and Pralhad Joshi from Karnataka — have made it to the Modi cabinet as against only one Lingayat.

He said, “Lingayats come to play when there is work to be done and Keshava Krupa (BJP headquarters) when the fruits are to be reaped and enjoyed.’’

Former bureaucrat and head of the Jagathika Lingayat movement SM Jaamdaar said, “The representation for Lingayats in the ministry is poor and BJP will pay for it in the next elections.’’

Political analyst Prof PS Jayaramu, former HoD of Political Science in Bangalore University, said, “This is inevitable as there are coalition compulsions for this government. Obviously they would like to accommodate more from states which are headed to the polls like Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi and Haryana.”

Another political analyst BS Murthy said, “Many Lingayats took to social media to complain that this time, their hopes were high as former CMs Basavraj Bommai and Jagadish Shettar had won. They feel that they have been used and thrown by successive BJP central governments. Some complain that even former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not give cabinet posts to Lingayats. Will the community rethink its political move in the state as now HD Kumaraswamy has become a partner in the NDA team is the big question.’’

A Lingayat seer, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Lingayats have not received their due share of tickets from BJP nor have they received their due share in the ministry. This time of course it is a coalition, but even on previous occasions, Lingayat leaders remained mere ministers of State. Lingayat groups are hotly discussing the snub, he added.

Lingayat pontiff Dingaleshwar Swamiji, who had campaigned against Pralhad Joshi in Dharwad, said that he prefers not to comment.

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