Separate Lingayat religion movement leaders left out

Separate Lingayat religion movement leaders left out

Members of Lingayat community staged a protest against JDS & Congress government for not giving ministry to M B Patil & Basavaraj Horatti at Basaveshwara Park in Jagat Circle in Kalaburagi on Wednesday. - Photo/ Prashanth HG

Not a single leader associated with the separate Lingayat religion movement has found a place in the newly-formed Cabinet, a clear indication that both Congress and JD(S) steered clear from the controversy.

The previous Siddaramaiah-led government’s decision to accord ‘religious minority’ status to Lingayat faith is widely believed to have contributed to the Congress’ defeat in the polls. The entire episode had two camps - one that demanded religious status for the Lingayats and another that opposed it, claiming that Veerashaivas and Lingayats were the same.

Congress’ M B Patil and JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti, who were part of the Lingayat religion movement, have been kept out of the Cabinet.

Similarly, veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa and former minister Eshwar Khandre, who opposed the Lingayat religion demand as part of the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, have been excluded from the ministry. In fact, the Mahasabha wanted the Congress to appoint Shamanur as deputy chief minister and give five berths to Veerashaiva-Lingayat leaders. As it turns out, the Congress has accommodated only two Lingayats in the Cabinet - Shivanand Patil (Basavana Bagewadi) and Rajashekhar Patil (Humnabad). The JD(S) also has two Lingayats - M C Managuli (Sindgi) and Venkatrao Nadagouda (Sindhanur).

Some Congress leaders who were the poster boys for the Lingayat religion demand lost in the election. They include ministers Vinay Kulkarni, Basavaraj Rayareddi and Sharanprakash Patil.