BJP’s Lingayat leaders raise “Lingayat CM” pitch to counter Congress narrative
Bengaluru, Apr. 20 (PTI) BJP’s Lingayat leaders have raised the pitch to unleash a “Lingayat CM” campaign in poll-bound Karnataka to counter the Congress’ narrative of branding the ruling party as “anti-Lingayat”.
The politically influential Lingayat community forms about 17 percent of the state’s population, mostly in the northern parts of the state that the BJP considers its strongest vote base.
Senior Lingayat Party leaders Jagadish Shetter and Laxman Sawadi quit the BJP and joined the Congress after they were denied tickets to contest the May 10 assembly polls.
The ruling party has been in damage control mode ever since the Congress accused the Lingayats of “injustice” and being “anti-Lingayat”.
Lingayat leaders from the BJP met on Wednesday evening at the residence of Karnataka BJP strongman and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, where there were suggestions to counter the Congress narrative by projecting that the next chief minister should be from the community. to power.
On Thursday, responding to questions from reporters, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai confirmed that the meeting had decided to strongly oppose “misinformation” being spread by the Congress on “certain matters”.
“There were some suggestions about the Lingayat-CM. Dharmendra Pradhan (the Union minister who is BJP’s Karnataka election in-charge) was also there. He (Pradhan) said he would convey our feelings (on the need for a Lingayat-CM) to the high command”.
When a reporter asked again about the Congress narrative branding the BJP as “anti-Lingayats”, the chief minister tried to counter him: “Do you want to keep the issue alive?”
In the last 50 years since 1967, apart from Virendra Patil’s nine-month rule, the Congress has not made a Lingayat chief minister, said Bommai . “Don’t ask this question again,” he told the reporter.
The Chief Minister said there are many instances of how the Congress treated senior Lingayat leaders and people will never forget how the Congress tried to break the community (demanding separate religious status for the community) to create a “vote bank”. years ago.
“Everyone has dignity, respect and opportunity in the BJP,” said Bommai , accusing the Congress of “cheating” Dalits, Lingayats and backward classes.