As you all know that, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has visited temples and Lingayat mutt in Karnataka in the first leg of the campaign. His visit to famous Lingayat mutt Gavi Siddheshwara Mutt in Koppal drew a lot of attention. The Lingayats are the worshippers of Lord Shiva who have distanced themselves from traditional Hinduism and the caste system in principle. However, the community is counted as Hindus in the Indian census.
Ironically, in spite of its origin among the followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna, the Lingayat community is now recognised as a caste.
A dominant in Karnataka, the Lingayats are believed to constitute 17% of the population. Although a caste census from 2015, the findings of which are yet to be made public, says they form only 9.8% of the electorate.