Increase quota instead of breaking community, Veerashaivas tell Karnataka CM
The row over the separate religious tag to Lingayats refuses to die down in Karnataka. A delegation of Veerashaiva-Lingayat leaders, in a memorandum to the government, have staunchly opposed separate religious tag to Lingayats. The Shaiva seers claimed that it was unconstitutional to accord separate religious status to a 'section within the community'.
Instead of according separate religious status tag, the community leaders have sought an increase in reservations.
"Recategorise Veerashaiva-Lingayat caste from current 3B to 2A category. Grant a quota depending on the population of the community and increase the current reservation of 12 per cent to 15 per cent," says the memorandum submitted to the Karnataka Chief Minister.
Members of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community have resolved to not allow separate religious status to Lingayats alone and are steadfast in their argument that both are the same.
While the BJP has been accusing the Congress of exploiting the situation for political gains, Siddaramaiah reiterated that the government can move forward only if a consensus is arrived at within the community and its leaders.
"I did not start off this issue and there is no need for us to gain political mileage out of it. My stand continues to be the same. If the community arrives at a consensus, the government will move forward. Multiple representations in favour of and against the proposal have been made. Let the community come together and decide," Siddaramaiah said after meeting the delegation.
Apart from opposing the separate religious tag, the Veerashaiva seers also pushed for separate free hostels for students from the community in every district and coaching centres for civil service aspirants from the community funded by the government. The meeting comes two days after close to two lakh Lingayats gathered in Belagavi in a show of strength to demand separate religious status. The BJP, however, stayed away from the meet irking Lingayat community leaders.