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Karnataka Election 2018

The Lingayat card: How it will be played in the Karnataka elections?

Arti Ghargi

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As a matter of fact, the lingayat religious card will definitely be played in Karnataka election but it is equally important to understand how it will be played.

About four months ago, a ground in Karnataka’s Bidar was flooded with people carrying saffron flag. Over 50,000 people from Lingayat community turned up to demand a separate religious status. For anyone familiar with the Karnataka politics, it was crystal clear that the Lingayat rally blew a trumpet for upcoming assembly elections in 2018.

The lingayat community has always been seen as a sect/caste of Hinduism. The reason lies in its similarity with a section of Hindu religion that worships ‘Shiva’. Many also believe that the word lingayat has its roots in ‘Shivalinga’ a symbolic structure that Hindus worship. However, the lingayat community’s struggles to differentiate itself from Hinduism is not a new one. Over the past decade, the demand has got momentum making it unable for politicians to keep their hands off it.

Even during the census of 2011, many in the community ran an awareness program urging the Lingayat community members to not register as Hindus. At the Bidar rally on July 19, the leaders supporting the demand said that Lingayat community is often confused with Veerashaiva sect in Hinduism that worships Shiva. However, the religious leaders believed that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are not same. While the former worship Shiva in Hinduism, the later follows Vachanas and scriptures left behind by Basaveshwara-founder of Lingayat religion.

Also read: Alarming Issues In Karnataka Which No Political Party Is Addressing

Yet, the issue goes far beyond the religious and social construct. One might be too imprudent to believe that the demand for separate religion has got to do with gaining recognition for the religious identity.

In Karnataka alone, lingayat community covers 17% of its total population. The regional politics is heavily influenced by caste-religion dynamics as was evident in Gujarat. Here, Lingayat is one of the dominant community when it comes to vote share.

Also Watch: A run up to Karnataka Elections

Thus, as our Managing Editor Sujit Nair- a keen observer of Karnataka politics put it, “The demand for separate religious status is only motivated by the benefits that come with having a minority status. Reservation being one of them. We saw it in Gujarat, we are going to see it in Karnataka as well.”

As a matter of fact, the lingayat religious card will definitely be played in Karnataka election but it is equally important to understand how it will be played.

Lingayat and BJP

Traditionally, Lingayats have been a loyalist to BJP. BJP who has created its image as a Pro-Hindu party has a heavyweight leader from the community B.S. Yeddyurappa heading its chariot. He is also the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the next election. However, the BJP never supported and will never support the demand for separate religion. Yeddyurappa who himself hails from the lingayat community was quoted by TOI as saying, “There is no difference between the Veerashaivas and Lingayats, and they are very much part of Hinduism.” The BJP who is fully aware of its vote bank would never hurt the Hindu sentiments by supporting Lingayat religion demand. On the other hand, it also fully aware that not backing the community might cost the party the 2018 elections.

Also Read: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Termed Anant Kumar Hegde As “Messenger Of Hate”

Lingayats and Congress:

Congress which is currently ruling the state has found an opportunity on the issue. Traditionally, Lingayats have kept a distance from Congress; so it may seem that supporting the demand may attract a vote bank. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah even told the community that Congress is ready to represent their concern to the central government. The prompt reaction might seem a blow to BJP who still seems to be in a fix over support to the demand. But it can turn out to be a backlash instead.

According to those in Congress, supporting the demand is like “playing with the fire”. Though the number of people who came out in Bidar rally was huge, there is still no unanimous voice among the community. Also, it is really hard to gauge what percent of the community wants the different religion status as to percent of people who oppose it. There is no clear picture.

Also Watch: Flag “poll” of Karnataka

Thus, the chances of Congress benefitting from this are few. On the contrary, by supporting the demand Congress gives an easy passage to BJP to further solidify its Hindu vote base. Yeddyurappa has already accused Congress of playing divisive politics in the state by backing the demand.

BJP is constantly portraying Congress as anti-Hindu in the state, take for instance yogi Adityanath’s comment on Congress government celebrating Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary. The communal violence in the coastal Karnataka has also stirred the politics in the state. In such a scenario, Congress might reconsider running the risk of supporting lingayat demand.

Karnataka Election 2018

Siddaramaiah – Devegowda’s nomination process turns violent in Mysuru

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MYSURU:  Karnataka election heat has risen as supporters of both CM Siddaramaiah and G T Devegowda of JD(S), ran into each other as their leaders filed their nominations from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru on Friday.

Kote Anjaneya Swamy temple, the North Gate of Mysuru Palace was turned into a battlefield as the two nomination processions were slated to commence.

The front section of the temple was covered by the Congress workers while JD(S) supporters assembled near Town Hall.

As the Congress supporters broke the security cordons, the police intervened and resorted to mild caning.

Sources claimed Congress had sought time to take out a rally before JD(S). But Congress rescheduled its rally, leading to delay and tension for four hours from 11 am. Siddaramaiah was scheduled to arrive at 12 noon and Devegowda at 2 pm. As Siddaramaiah got delayed, Devegowda acceded to the cops’ request and arrived early.

The police changed the route of the procession to the returning officer’s office in Nazarbad 2km away, as the CM reached the procession venue at 2 pm to ensure both party workers did not run into each other. Karnataka state elections will be held on 12 May 2018 in all 224 constituencies of the Legislative Assembly. The counting of votes and announcement of result will take place on 15 May 2018.

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Karnataka Election 2018

Karnataka Assembly Elections buzz: Candidates start filing papers

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Twenty-nine candidates filed their nomination papers from constituencies across the state on Tuesday, day 1 of Karnataka state elections.

The Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai R Vala notified it’s 224-member assembly about the May 12 elections on Tuesday. The poll panel said in a statement,”The governor is pleased to call upon the people to elect members to the 15th legislative assembly in accordance with the Representation of the People’s Act, 1951.”
The filing of nominations for the polls has begun on 17th April, 11 am onwards. Between 17th and 24th, nominations can be filed from 11 am and 3 pm. Some of the rules for the process as specified by the commissioner are: not more than three vehicles and five people including can be present within 100m of the office of the RO.
Nomination paper and the format for the same have been provided to the political parties. Six of the 29 candidates who filed their nominations on Tuesday did so in Bengaluru city.
The Congress which hopes to retain power has not announced any Chief Ministerial candidate but is firm in declaring that incumbent Siddaramaiah will be the party’s “face” during the polls. At the same time, BJP has announced former Chief Minister Yeddyurappa as its Chief Ministerial candidate.
In the constituency of Shantinagar, retired IAS officer Renuka Viswanathan of the Aam Aadmi Party and Anthony Santosh filed nominations. Gopalagowda HN from KR Puram and Dr P Anil Kumar from Bommanahalli are some of the others who did the same. The only sitting MLA to file his papers was Anand Mamani of the BJP from Yellamma Savadatti in Belagavi district.
Karnataka assembly elections will begin on May 12 and conclude on May 15.
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Karnataka Election 2018

AIADMK contesting Karnataka Elections on two seats

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The AIADMK appointed key office-bearers to the party’s state unit in poll-bound Karnataka and indicated it would contest two assembly constituencies in the May 12 elections.

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday indicated that it would field its candidates in the two assembly constituencies of Karnataka, which is going to Assembly elections next month.

The party invited applications from aspirants who wanted to contest from Kolar Gold Field and Gandhinagar assembly seats, which have a sizable Tamil population, in the neighbouring state. A release stated that the party wanted applicants for the constituencies to submit their applications on Wednesday and Thursday.

They had in December last relieved Va Pugazhenthi, a loyalist of then sidelined leader T T V Dhinakaran, as Secretary of AIADMK’s Karnataka unit. The party has made a huge impact in southern states, Maharashtra, New Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This is the first election after which the dual leadership suffered a serious setback in R K Nagar bypolls, where the contending leader, TTV Dhinakaran won by a huge margin.

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