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Lingayat organisation wants Shamanur Shivshankrappa to be Karnataka Deputy CM

By Deepika

All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha has written an open letter to H D Kumaraswamy, demanding Shamanuru Shivashankarappa (Congress), a Veerashaiva leader be made the Home Minister in the new government and five other leaders from the community be made ministers in the cabinet to bring down the distrust in the Lingayat community and as a reassuring gesture.

Shamanur Shivshankrappa

Shivashankarappa, who is also the president of All India Veerashaiva - Lingayat Mahasabha, the powerful body of the sect had earlier welcomed the Cabinet decision on according minority tag for the community, later reversed his decision and called it the "height of injustice". This had become tricky for the Congress.

Shivshankrappa of the Congress, who contested from Davanagere South constituency, defeated the BJP's Yashwantrao Jadhav. The organisation has also urged the grand old party to allocate at least five ministerial post for the leaders from the community.

The demand comes a day ahead of Kumaraswamy's visit to Delhi to discuss cabinet expansion.

The Siddaramaiah government's high-risk gamble to play the Lingayat card with a religious minority tag has turned out to be a costly misadventure electorally, leaving Congress poorer in terms of assembly seats.

The BJP has made a strong showing in Mumbai-Karnataka region, where it won 30 out of 50 seats, conceding 17 to Congress, down from 31 it had won in the previous 2013 assembly polls.

While out of 36 seats in central Karnataka region, Congress' tally dropped to 13 from 19 last year, the BJP made steep gains by winning 15 seats, compared to three it won in 2013.

In Hyderabad-Karnataka region also, BJP increased its tally from 10 seats to 15, even as Congress retained a lead with 21 out of 40 seats.

The influential and politically powerful Lingayats are a dominant caste in Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka in the northern region of the state and central Karnataka.

The results are also being seen as BS Yeddyurappa, considered as 'Lingayat strongman', reasserting his clout on the community, as BJP successfully projected the Lingayat issue as an effort by Congress to keep him away from the chief minister's chair.

Also what is seen to have consolidated Lingayat votes against Congress is BJP managing to project the decision to accord religious minority tag to Lingayats as an attempt to divide the community/Hindus for political gains.

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