No expert panel yet as Veerashaiva, Lingayat camps fail to patch up

No expert panel yet as Veerashaiva, Lingayat camps fail to patch up

While the ruling Congress is pulling out all stops to prepare for the upcoming polls, the split between the Veerashaiva and Lingayat leaders of the party on the issue of separate religion tag remains wide open.

An expert committee comprising five members each from the Veerashaiva and Lingayat camps was to have been formed to determine whether the separate religion should be called Veerashaiva-Lingayat or just Lingayat. The committee, whose formation was announced a week ago, is unlikely to see the light of day.

The Veerashaiva camp holds that Veerashaiva and Lingayat are the same and that the separate religion be called Veerashaiva-Lingayat, whereas the latter argues that Lingayat is a religion with Veerashaiva being a sub-sect.

The Congress was planning to woo the powerful Lingayat community by raking up the issue of separate religion status ahead of the Assembly election.

The Veerashaiva camp comprises senior Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, his son and Horticulture Minister S S Mallikarjun and Municipalities Minister Eshwar B Khandre.

The Lingayat camp has Water Resources Minister M B Patil, Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni, and Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy.

JD(S) leader and former minister Basavaraj Horatti, who identifies with the Lingayat camp, said the idea of forming an expert committee was later deemed untenable. “Because both camps are refusing to budge from their respective stands, there’s no point in the expert committee,” he said.

So far, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has received three representations on the separate religion demand — one from the Veerashaiva Mahasabha, one from the Lingayat group and another from Lingayat spiritual leader Mathe Mahadevi.

“There are two options now: Either both groups come together and submit a single representation to the state government seeking separate religion status to the Lingayat faith, or the two will have to submit separate representations,” retired IAS officer S M Jaamdar, who is the convenor of the separate Lingayat religion movement, said.

Watch DH video: Lingayat, Veerashaiva, Hindu: So Who's Who?


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