The issue of separate religion tag for Lingayats led to a banter between former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Housing Minister V Somanna at a “Sharana mela” here on Sunday.
Speaking at Asankhya Pramathara Ganamela and Sarvasharana Sammelana, Siddaramaiah maintained that Lingayats were a separate sect. He said he was staunch follower of Basava and hence took as chief minister on Basava Jayanthi day. “Many people can criticise me. (But) Nobody should forget that Basavanna preached the (Lingayat) religion as an alternative to Vedic religions,” he said.
Somanna, who spoke later, took a jibe at Siddarmaiah saying that raking the Lingayat issue helped B S Yediyurappa become chief minister of Karnataka.
“Siddaramaiah did everything during his tenure as CM. Despite that, raking the sensitive issue (of separate religion status for Lingayats ) helped Yediyurappa become CM,” he said. However, a few in the audience took exception to Somanna’s remarks.
They were speaking at “Asankhya Pramathara Ganamela” and “Sarvasharana Sammelana” organised by Murugha Mutt, at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre in Bengaluru.
Critics dubbed the event as “launch pad” for Yediyurappa’s younger son B Y Vijayendra, with the chief minister attempting to project Vijayendra as his political successor.
The meeting passed several resolutions such more assistance for the Basavanna statue coming up in front of Murugha Mutt in Chitradurga, renaming Kalaburagi University after Dr B R Ambedkar and Dharwad University after Basavanna and to shore up efforts for conservation of memorials associated with sharanas, among others.