In a bid to prevent a split in the Lingayat votes in Karnataka, BJP chief, Amit Shah will meet with the seers in the state. Shah would meet with Shivakumar Swamiji, a prominent spiritual leader of the Lingayat community.
He would also visit the Muruga Mutts, Sirigere and Madara Channaiah. The meeting is aimed at retaining the Lingayat votes for the BJP. The decision was taken after the Congress government in Karnataka decided to recommend the grant of religious minority status for the Lingayats.
The BJP while assessing the move by the Congress felt that this could eat into the vote share of the party. The meeting between Shah and Shivakumara Swamiji is significant in the backdrop of the recent developments in the state. Moreover, Shivakumara Swamiji turns 111 on April 1.
The BJP has looking to influence the mutts to take a stance against the decision by the Congress. The BJP has said that the move by the Congress was aimed at dividing the Hindu community. A large section of the Lingayats too have voiced a similar opinion.
The Lingayat community which is incidentally the largest in the state is crucial to the political prospects of any party. The community has traditionally backed the BJP and in particular its chief ministerial candidate, B S Yeddyurappa. The BJP which is backing heavily on this vote bank cannot afford a divide ahead of the crucial Karnataka assembly elections 2018.