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BSY calls for report on Lingayat sect’s socio-economic condition

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The order comes even as influential leaders and seers of the Panchamasali Lingayats continue their 450 kms ‘Padayatra’ or march from Kudalasangama in Bagalkote district towards Bengaluru.

By Sharan Poovanna, Bengaluru

PUBLISHED ON FEB 06, 2021 04:26 AM IST

Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa on Friday ordered for a detailed assessment and report on the socio-economic conditions of the Panchamasali Lingayats, one of the largest sects within the most dominant and politically influential communities in the state.

The order comes even as influential leaders and seers of the Panchamasali Lingayats continue their 450 kms ‘Padayatra’ or march from Kudalasangama in Bagalkote district towards Bengaluru, pursuing a two-decade old demand to be included in the 2A category of the backwards classes list and entitle them 15% reservations in government jobs and education.

Panchamasali’s make up for the majority of the state’s Lingayat population that is estimated to be around 17%.

The order comes at a time when 77-year-old Yediyurappa, who is from the Banajiga sect of the Lingayats, has been trying to consolidate his core support base, quell rebellion within his government and retain his status as the only mass-leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to not just help complete his term as chief minister but also bring the party back to power in 2023.

Basangouda Patil (Yatnal) of the BJP, one of the staunchest critics of Yediyurappa who has made statements on the imminent ouster of the chief minister, had raised this issue in the legislative assembly on Tuesday. Yatnal is part of the campaign launched by the seers of the Panchamasali and is being seen as an attempt to blunt Yediyurappa’s influence on the community. Cabinet ministers Murugesh Nirani and C.C.Patil on Thursday met the seers to assure that their demands will be considered. Yediyurappa has already issued orders for constituting the Karnataka Veerashaiva-Lingayat Development Corporation with an allocation of 500 crore in November last year.

In a separate statement, Yediyurappa clarified his remark in the assembly to a Panchamasali seer in which he claimed to be misunderstood by Jayamritunjaya Swamiji, one of the most influential leaders in the community.

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