Karnataka: This Cabinet has least number of Lingayat ministers
Bengaluru, Dec 26: Much to the displeasure of Veerashaiva ( sect which is opposed to separate religion for Lingayats) leaders in Congress party, state PCC inducted into Cabinet an MLA who was leading movement for separate Lingayat religion.
After the dismal performance of the Congress party in the assembly elections, MB Patil wasn't included in the Congress -JD(S) cabinet even after he lobbied hard to get a ministerial berth.
Now, his induction into the Cabinet has become an eyesore in the eyes of Veerashaiva-sect leaders. Senior Congress leader Shamanoor Shivashankarappa has openly expressed displeasure for leaving him out of the Cabinet and preferring MB Patil.
Another Congress leader who had high hopes to get a portfolio is Hirekerur MLA BC Patil. He belongs to another sub-caste of Lingayat felt dominant in central Karnataka. Patil betrayed by former CM Siddaramaiah for not being inducted into the Cabinet.
According to experts, BC Patil should have got a chance, but MB Patil's inclusion is justified. Being a minister from Bijapur and Bagalkote region, MB Patil will help organise the party where BJP has made a strong comeback after the Lingayat religion issue caused the Congress party huge embarrassment.
The inclusion of MB Patil into the Cabinet looks like a wrong message to the Lingayat community though, but experts believe it is a good strategic move by the Congress ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
Senior journalist Mahadeva Prakash observed that the most significant fact of this Cabinet is it has less number of Lingayat and Veerashaiva ministers after Devraj Urs' Cabinet in 1976. The present Cabinet has five Lingayat ministers, three from Congress and two from JDS.
The difference is Devraj Urs gave preference to backward classes over dominant communities in his Cabinet. On the other hand, the present government bound by coalition dharma.