Amit Shah’s trip to Adichunchanagiri Mutt is being seen in political circles as the BJP’s attempt to lure the Vokkaliga votes to swing the election.

Amit Shah to meet Karnatakas Adichunchanagiri pontiff seen as a move to lure Vokkaligas
news Politics Wednesday, August 09, 2017 - 09:17

With the Karnataka Assembly polls nearing, BJP National President Amit Shah is all set to visit Bengaluru between August 12 and 14.

The BJP heavyweight is slated to meet the Adichunchanagiri Mutt’s seer during his tour this weekend, in an attempt to woo the Vokkaligas – a dominant community in the state, which has eluded the BJP for years.

The Adichunchanagiri Mutt has, for decades, influenced the politically dominant Vokkaliga votes. Karnataka has an abundance of Vokkaliga and Lingayat Mutts and their pontiffs, who are politically influential. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also visited religious heads of the Lingayat community including Shivakumara Swami, the pontiff of Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru district and Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swami of Suttur Mutt in Mysuru district, the Deccan Herald reported. 

Amit Shah’s trip to Adichunchanagiri Mutt is being seen in political circles as the BJP’s attempt to lure the Vokkaliga votes to swing the election.

“The JD(S) has always held the Vokkaliga votes very closely, followed by the Congress. In order to win the election, the BJP needs the Vokkaliga, Lingayat and Dalit votes. The Congress is trying to break our Lingayat vote bank through the religion status issue. Vokkaligas matter because, if the BJP swings their votes, the party will not have to worry about JD(S) being the kingmaker,” a BJP source told TNM.

With the Congress trying to project the BJP as anti-Vokkaliga after Income Tax raids on Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, the source believes that Amit Shah’s visit will “remove such ideas from people’s minds”.

According to political analyst Muzaffar Assadi, this meeting is significant as the Mutt’s educational institutions were raided by the Income Tax sleuths during the Congress-led UPA rule in 2013. 

The Deccan Herald report states that several BJP leaders dismissed the political angle to this meets and said that Amit Shah is slated to visit the mutt’s head Nirmalanandanatha Swami as the pontiff has taken keen interest in Modi’s Swachh Bharat programme in that region and has also adopted a few villages to implement the cleanliness project on behalf of the mutt.

However, political analysts believe that BJP is trying to gain the Vokkaliga votes, which had scattered in the previous election.

“After Yeddyurappa was involved in the mining scam, the BJP-JD(S) coalition collapsed. The Vokkaligas, who were loyal to JD(S) cast their votes for the Congress. The BJP is trying to mobilise the 15% vote in its favour,” Assadi added.

In addition, former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna, is believed to be the BJP’s man who will gather Vokkaliga votes in the Mysuru-Mandya belt. 

There is also talk of inducting a Vokkaliga MP from Karnataka into the Union Cabinet in the next reshuffle expected later this month, DH reported.

Shah, who will be in Bengaluru for three days starting August 12, will also visit Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation in Bengaluru. 

 

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