Ever since the demand for a separate Lingayat religion began a few months ago, the Congress government has used the issue to break into the impenetrable BJP vote bank. Now, Karnataka Water Resource Minister MB Patil, a Lingayat himself, has jumped in to champion the demand for a separate religion.
On Monday, Patil said that an expert committee would be set up to examine both sides of the argument.
â€śChief Minister Siddaramaiah has assured us that the issue will be referred to an expert committee where both sides will present their case along with evidence. A democratic set up will ensure that both sides are heard before taking this issue forward. We will go to the Supreme Court if necessary,â€ť MB Patil told the media.
The Minister said that the committeeâ€™s recommendations will be reviewed by the Chief Minister who will then consider taking the issue forward to the Centre.
â€śWhile we are ready to even approach the Supreme Court to ensure that Lingayats obtains a separate minority religion status. Our first step is to ensure that the committee has all the facts right before the CM takes a call,â€ť Patil added.
He said that said once the CM throws his weight behind the Lingayatsâ€™ demand for a separate religion, the case would become even stronger.
Patil dismissed all allegations made against the Congress that the party was using the issue to gather votes for the upcoming Assembly polls.
Patil said that there cannot be any time frame fixed for the committee to be set up and hear the case.
â€śHow can we fix any time for the CM to form a committee? The issue can be resolved in one month, six months, one year or even two years. We will continue the struggle till the time we what we have demanded,â€ť he added.
In a rather bizarre turn of events, the demand for a separate Lingayat religion has now had the Veerashaivas and Lingayats fight over rationalist MM Kalburgi.
According MB Patil, the seer of the Halekere Annadaneshwara Mutti in Badami has said it was Kalaburgi who sparked the divide between Lingayats and Veerashaivas with his words.
â€śSanganna Basava Swamiji is wrong in his interpretation of facts. Kalaburgi was one of the most renowned philosophers and academician of our times and he was the one who said that use of the word Veerashaiva had spoilt the Lingayat religion,â€ť Patil added.