The Billavas form a large part of the BJP’s vote bank in the coastal districts of Karnataka.

Sathyajith Surathkal, founder president of Sri Narayana Guru Vichara VedikeFacebook
news Politics Monday, September 19, 2022 - 20:52

Mangaluru-based Sri Narayana Guru Vichara Vedike on Sunday, September 18, wanted the Karnataka government to establish a development board for the Billava community. The Billavas belong to the OBC community that is predominant in Mangaluru and Udupi regions. Addressing reporters in Mangaluru, the organisation's founder president Sathyajith Surathkal said a meeting was held with various district and taluk level office-bearers of the Vedike at Kudroli temple. He said the organisation, which was started in February last year, is being expanded to various districts. Office-bearers of 10 districts attended Sunday's meeting, he said.

The Vedike will take to protests if the government does not heed to its demand for a corporation for Billavas, Surathkal said. Other demands of the community include the identification of Billavas under Category 1 as against the present Category 2A to avail reservation, he said.

The Vedike leader also demanded that Mangaluru Central railway station be named after Sri Narayana Guru. It is unfortunate that successive governments have failed to take action on the demands, he said.

Surathkal further said no minister or deputy commissioner attended the Sri Narayana Guru Jayanthi function held in the city though it was organised by the state government.

Surathkal has been a strong supporter of Hindutva and has worked as the state secretary of BJP's backward classes Morcha.

The Billavas form a large part of the BJP’s vote bank in the coastal districts of Karnataka. But recently,  members of the community turned up in large numbers to protest against the BJP’s state leadership after the death of Praveen Nettaru, a BJP worker from Dakshina Kannada district.

After senior Congress leader Janardhana Poojary, who hails from the community, retired from active politics, many from the Billava community have been trying to take advantage of the space he vacated. 

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