Yeddyurappa's doublespeak on Lingayat row: Letter shows he had supported demand for separate religion

Yeddyurappa had recently said that there is no need for separate Lingayat religion.
Yeddyurappa's doublespeak on Lingayat row: Letter shows he had supported demand for separate religion
Yeddyurappa's doublespeak on Lingayat row: Letter shows he had supported demand for separate religion
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The demand for a separate Lingayat religion, has stirred up a controversy in Karnataka with the Congress and BJP disagreeing on the issue.

When a mammoth rally was organised in Bidar on July 17, where Lingayats demanded a minority religion status, BJP state President, BS Yeddyurappa, had stated that Lingayats are Hindus and there is no reason for a separate religion.

However, a report by the Times of India states that a leaked document from 2013 reveals Yeddyurappa’s doublespeak on the issue.

According to the report, a memorandum was sent to the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in 2013, where prominent Lingayat leaders had sought a separate religion status for Veerashaiva-Lingayats. One of the signatories of the memorandum was BS Yeddyurappa.

This contradicts his opposition to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's announcement that he would recommend the Centre to grant separate religion status for Lingayats. 

The memorandum, written by Shamanur Shivashankarappa, President of Ahikal Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha, an umbrella organization of Veerashaivas and Lingayats across the country, had urged Manmohan Singh to "provide a separate number, column, code and abbreviation to record the religion of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community in the census form”.

This memorandum has the signatures of all Lingayat MLAs and MPs from Karnataka including BS Yeddyurappa. 

“We, the undersigned people's representatives of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa and other parts of the country, comprising about 4 crore people from the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community , on July 25, resolved to support the memorandum,” the letter reportedly reads. 

A similar memorandum was submitted to the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, on July 7, 2013, to consider granting Veerashaiva-Lingayat a separate religion status for the purpose of gathering census data, on par with other minority religions like Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, the TOI report states. 

As many as 57 sitting MLAs and MPs from Congress JD(S) and BJP had signed the memorandum in 2013 and 27 of them were from BJP including Basavaraj Bommai, Prabhakar Kore, Umesh Katti, Laxman Savadi, Aravind Bellad. Three JD(S) MLAs – Basavaraj Horatti, SS Shivashankar and Mallikarjun Khuba – had also signed the memorandum and 27 Congress MLAs and MPs as well. 

This also reveals the doublespeak on behalf of the JD(S) as the party has now taken a dig at CM Siddaramaiah for recommending that Lingayats be granted an independent religion status, the rport adds.

Further, the first woman seer of the Lingayat community, Mathe Mahadevi, who is leading the revived campaign seeking independent status only for Lingayats by claiming Veerashaivas and Lingayats are different, was also a party to a resolution seeking separate religion status for Lingayats at the four general body meetings conducted from 1987 to 1991 by AIVM.

Mate Mahadevi, Head of Basava Dharma Peetha, said that the signing of the memorandum by Yeddyurappa was his religious stand, while opposing it is his political stand since he is the Chief Ministerial candidate of a party which believes in Hindutva.

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