The BJP had seen this coming and today the party is discussing a possible counter to the decision of the Karnataka government to recommend a religious minority tag to the Lingayats.
For now, party insiders say that they would wait and see how the status would be notified. We would want to see if the government under Section 2(d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act would include the words, Lingayats, Veerashaiva-Lingayats and Basava tatva.
The BJP would also wait and watch to find out what decision the Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha would take. The president of the Mahasabha, Shamanur Shivashankarappa on Tuesday had objected to the use of the term Basav tatva while according Lingayat status. The BJP's chief ministerial candidate, B S Yeddyurappa had told reporters that the Mahasabha should convene a meeting of community leaders, Mutt seers and then take a call on the government's decision.
While the outcome of the meeting would be crucial, the BJP, on the other hand, has already decided to charge the Congress government with the anti-Hindu tag.
BJP backers on the social media had put out several posts accusing the Congress of dividing Hindus. The party has in the past too charged the Congress of being anti-Hindu. The attempt to take over mutts and temples are some of the allegations that the BJP has already made against the Congress in the past. They would add this in their campaign to take on the Congress and portray it as an anti-Hindu party.
This would be a very delicate issue and all parties would have to tread carefully. The Lingayats make up for 17 per cent of the population and can make an impact in at least 100 seats in the 224 members Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 are expected to be held in early May.