The BS Yediyurappa-led government on Monday announced that Rs 500 crore will be allocated to the newly formed Karnataka Veerashaiva-Lingayat Development Corporation (VLDC). It may be recalled that it was only on November 17 that the Chief Minister Yediyurappa announced such a body will be set up in the state.
The CMâ€™s decision regarding this was preceded by the decision to set up Maratha Development Authority (MDA). Incidentally the MDA had got an allocation of Rs 50 crore.
The push for the VLDC came after a group of ministers and Lingayat MLAs led by Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi met the CM. Yediyurappa is considered the tallest political leader of the community and the others urged him to form this corporation. According to these leaders, even though Lingayats form 17% population in Karnataka and have made a significant contribution in the state, the community has a substantial number of poor people, who eke out a living by working as labourers.
According to political pundits, the decision to set up the MDA was designed to woo the sizeable Maratha populace in Basava Kalyan Assembly constituency in Bidar district bordering Maharashtra. The assembly bypoll is due in Basava Kalyan after the sitting Congress MLA B Narayan Rao died of COVID-19 in Bengaluru recently. However, this announcement had not gone down with a section which questioned why the Karnataka government should set aside money for Maratha development. So much so, a statewide strike has been called by pro-Kannada organisations opposing the governmentâ€™s decision.
Since the formation of these two boards/ corporations, there have been several representations made by many other communities in the state to the CM urging him to set up respective welfare boards.
Notably, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday called for a similar board/corporation for Vokkaligas, another politically large significant community like the Lingayats.