Amid the political uproar over the demand for a separate Lingayat religion, Karnataka state water resources minister MB Patil, who is championing the demand for a separate minority religion tag, is all set to woo his community for the upcoming 2018 polls.
On Saturday , MB Patil was invited by the 110-year-old Siddaganga mutt pontiff Sri Shivakumara Swami to his mutt in Tumakuru and was given a pat on his back for spearheading the campaign for the separate Lingayat religion, Deccan Chronicle reported.
Soon after he returned from Tumakuru, Patil held a press conference to announce that it was â€śa historical and unforgettable dayâ€ť for him.
â€śShivakumara Swamiji had personally invited me to visit him when I had been to Tumakuru to attend a public event. He expressed his happiness over our campaign. This has given us strength to stand against those who are against us and we will fight for Basava dharma. We donâ€™t care who oppose us, we will take our campaign to the next level,â€ť Patil told the media.
Patil, however, dismissed questions about seeking the support of the Sttur Mutt pontiff - Sri Shivakumar Deshikendra Swami. â€śSiddaganaga Swami is the highest Lingayat pontiff. I won't care about others for now but will continue my fight,â€ť he added.
Minister Patil had recently announced that he has the backing of the pontiffs of both the Siddaganga mutt of Tumakuru and Suttur mutt of Mysuru.
He also dismissed the allegation that the Congress government is using the Lingayat-Veerashaiva controversy to break the votebank of the community which has been a traditional supporter of the BJP.
â€śChief minister Siddaramaiah has promised that the matter will be referred to an expert committee and both sides will present their argument with documentary evidence. This is a democratic setup and everyone must be heard before any decision is taken. We will take it up with the Supreme Court if we have to,â€ť Patil added.