Maha govt says no to religion tag

In what could set off a political debate, the BJP-Shiv Sena saffron alliance government in Maharashtra has said that it would not accord a separate religion status to the Lingayat community.

Minorities Development and Education Minister Vinod Tawde, in a written reply to the Legislative Assembly at the ongoing monsoon session of the legislature at Nagpur, has indicated that separate religion status would not be given to the Lingayat community that has good presence in Maharashtra as well. 

In Karnakata, in the run up to the recent Assembly polls, the then Congress government had granted separate religion status to the Lingayat community.

In his reply, Tawde pointed out that the Union Minorities Development Ministry, in response to the recommendation of the National Minorities Commission in May 2014, has said that the Veershaiva-Lingayat is not a separate religion but a sub-sect of the Hindu religion.

However, Maharashtra Minister of State for Public Health Vijay Deshmukh, who himself is from the Lingayat community, has said that he would meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.

After the Karnataka government gave separate religion status to Lingayats, several members of the community made representations to the Maharashtra government.

In India, after Karnakata that has around 16% Lingayat population, Maharashtra has around 6-7% Lingayats of its total population.

 It may be recalled, the then Prithviraj Chavan government in Maharsahtra included 21 sub-castes of the Lingayat community into Other Backward Castes (which have 27% reservation) and Special Backward Classes (which have 2% reservation), in August 2014 in the run up to the Vidhan Sabha polls. The inclusion was based on the recommendation of the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward classes.

Several prominent Maharashtra politicians coming from the Lingayat community include former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, former ministers Dilip Sopal, Vinay Kore and the late Ratnappa Kumbhar, and current
Shiv Sena MP from Aurangabad, Chandrakant Khaire.

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Maha govt says no to religion tag

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