Karnataka Chief Minister and Lingayat strongman BS Yediyurappa offered to resign as he stood up to Veerashaiva Lingayat Panchamasali seer Swami Vachananda, who demanded cabinet posts for leaders from the community. The public spat occurred at an event held in Harihar in Davangere district hosted by the Panchamasali Samaj Gurupeetha on Tuesday.
Panchamasali is a sub-sect of the Lingayats who are known to be the primary vote bank of the BJP and Yediyurappa is the tallest leader of the community.
A lingayat seer demands BJP MLA Murgesh Nirani to be made minister. "All 5 lingayat mutt seers will move away from you, if you don't take care of Nirani"
CM then tells the seer "don't threaten me. I haven't come to listen that" pic.twitter.com/7Oun5mNSOU— Nagarjun Dwarakanath (@nagarjund) January 14, 2020
During the event, Swami Vachananda who is the seer of the Peetha publicly said the community will go against BS Yediyurappa if he fails to accommodate at least three MLAs of the sect in the next cabinet expansion. The Chief Minister was present at the event when the seer made his statement.
The seer added that Murugesh Nirani, MLA from Milgi in Bagalkot, who was also present in the same dias, should get a “good cabinet” berth. Batting for him, the seer added that Nirani had stood behind Yediyurappa like a rock and the sect and if the Chief Minister fails to accommodate him then the entire Panchamasali will no longer support him.
This comment triggered a prompt response from Yediyurappa, who in a stern voice said that he will not accept such a sermon from the seer and said he did not want to hear such words from him. The Chief Minister then threatened to abandon the event if the seer continued to speak in that manner and said he cannot work according to his whims and fancies.
Yediyurappa went on to say that the seer can only make suggestions to him but cannot make threats even as Swami Vachananda softened his stance claiming he was demanding justice for the community.
Speaking at the event later, Yediyurappa said that he would like to remind Swami Vachananda that he became the CM as a result of the 13 rebel MLAs who resigned from their positions and got relelected. He said if the seer fails to understand his position then he would be prepared to resign immediately.
"If not for their sacrifice, I would not be sitting in this chair. Understand my position too. If the swamiji does not understand this, then I am prepared to resign from my post tomorrow itself. I am not dying to be on the CM’s chair," said Yediyurappa.
The newly elected rebel-turned-BJP MLAs are yet to be inducted into the cabinet.