Lingayat issue: Congress wants to prevent Yeddyurappa from becoming Karnataka CM, says Amit Shah

Karnataka Cabinet recently decided to recommend to the Centre to accord religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats.

Lingayat issue: Congress wants to prevent Yeddyurappa from becoming Karnataka CM, says Amit Shah
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@BJP4India

Tiptur: Taking on the Congress on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah maintained that the Siddaramaiah government's move to accord separate religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats was aimed at preventing BS Yeddyurappa from becoming chief minister.

The state Cabinet had recently decided to recommend to the Centre to accord religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats in a move seen as an attempt to chip away at the BJP's strong Lingayat voter base.

"This Siddaramaiah government has brought this proposal, not because it has love for Lingayats, but to prevent Yeddyurappa from becoming CM," Shah said addressing a Coconut Growers Convention.

"I want to tell Karnataka people that if BJP wins a majority, we will make Yeddyurappa CM," he added. Yeddyurappa is considered a Lingayat strongman.

Shah said that the proposal, which was rejected by the then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre in 2013, was only aimed at creating confusion among people.

He, however, believed that the people of the state would not be enticed by Siddaramaiah's 'divide-and-rule politics'. Congress president Rahul Gandhi should first point fingers at Siddaramaiah for dividing people before accusing BJP of it, Shah added. 

"The Congress ship is sinking and to save it, the Congress is making its last efforts, and what it is doing? It is making efforts to divide people. The Congress Chief Minister is playing divide-and-rule politics of the British," he further said.

Shah criticised the Siddaramiah government for not bringing in the proposal earlier. "The Siddaramaiah government has proposed to accord religion and minority status to Lingayats, but why did it not do it earlier? Because that time, there was no need for gaining votes," the BJP president said.

He is on a two-day tour of election-bound Karnataka. Shah began his two-day tour by seeking the blessings of Sri Shivakumara Swami of Siddhaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, a revered seer of the Lingayat community. He also held a massive roadshow in Shivamogga, where he launched the state BJP's 'Karunadu Jagruti Yatre' a rally to 'awaken the electorate' of Karnataka against the 'misrule' of the Siddaramaiah government.

At the same time, the BJP chief launched a scathing attack on the Siddaramaiah government for failing to prevent farmers' suicides. "In five years of Siddaramaiah's rule, as many as 3,781 farmers committed suicides. I want to ask the government, who is responsible for these suicides?" he asked.

"If you vote Yeddyurappa to become CM, I assure you farmers' suicides will come to a halt," Shah said. At a meeting in Shivamogga, the home district of Yeddyurappa, he said all development works in Karnataka under the Siddaramaiah government had come to a standstill.

Shah urged the people to ask the Siddaramaiah government where the grants given by the Centre had vanished. He said the Modi government has introduced 112 central schemes, but their benefits were not reaching people.

(With PTI inputs)

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