Karnataka cabinet reshuffle: Congress aims at snatching Lingayat vote bank from BJP

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Bengaluru, June 20: The cabinet re-shuffle in Karnataka was a much watched affair. There were several who were sulking after being dropped and many indulged in protests as well.

Going by the manner in which Chief Siddaramaiah has gone about the reshuffle, it becomes clear that he was aiming at the perfect caste balance.


The most interesting aspect of the reshuffle was the berths given to those from the dominant Lingayat community who traditionally have been allying with the BJP. The caste wise break up of the ministry today following the reshuffle is OBC-9, Lingayat-7, Vokkaliga-5 SC-5, Muslims- 3, ST-1 and Christian-1.

Caste equations:

If one looks at the break up the OBCs and the SC/STs have 16 of their representatives in the state cabinet. However there is also a message to the BJP which depends heavily on the Lingayats for their votes.

The Congress which has not recovered from losing the Lingayat vote bank ever since former CM, Veerendra Patil was unceremoniously dropped have tried to make amends this time.

B S Yeddyurappa the state chief of the BJP is a major hit with the Lingayat community and can sway that vote bank easily in favour of the party.

For the Congress to take on the BJP in the 2018 elections, it is extremely important for them to hit a chord with the Lingayat community. The re-shuffle aims at just that.

Moreover, the Chief Minister has also proposed the names of Nadagouda and K Koliwad to the post of speaker which fell vacant after Kagodu Thimappa was inducted into the cabinet. Nadagouda and Koliwads are both prominent Lingayat leaders.

There is however some amount of disgruntlement among the Vokkaliga community who seem to feel ignored. There were protests in Mandya the heart land of the Vokkaligas after M H Ambareesh was dropped.

The Congress would however, make amends by appointing Vokkaliga leader, D K Shivakumar as the Congress chief.

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