Ahead of Cabinet meeting, Veerashaiva seers on warpath

Hubballi: A face-off appears imminent between Veerashaiva and Lingayat seers should the government decide to recommend independent religious status for Lingayats in its Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. 

The 70 Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers, who met in Badami,  Bagalkot district on Tuesday threatened to come out on the streets if the government took a decision against it and resolved to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to  urge him to reject the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee report recommending a minority tag for the Lingayats alone.

The Veerashaiva pontiffs particularly targeted Lingayat seers like Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swami and Mathe Mahadevi, who are spearheading the movement for a separate religious status, and warned they could even take legal action on the issue.  

Addressing the meeting, Balehosur Math seer, Dingaleshwar Swami,  Dr Chandrashekar Shivacharya Swami of  Kashi Peetha and Annadaneshwar Swami said the government had no right to divide the community in this manner. 

“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said he would send a plea for an independent religious status only if both the Veerashaivas and Lingayats agreed on the issue. But now he has taken a unilateral decision by appointing a seven-member panel, which gave its report in a hurry without studying the pros and cons and consulting experts of the both factions. The Congress party is only trying to take political mileage from the issue ahead of the elections,” charged Dingaleshwar Swami. Meanwhile, BJP leader and businessman, Vijay Sankeshwar claimed the movement for independent religious tag for Lingayats alone had been launched by “cash-starved seers” who had not received  funds during the tenure of BJP state chief, B S Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister. 

He also accused Mr Siddaramaiah of constituting the seven-member panel  to divide the Veerashaivas and Lingayats, who had been seen as one and the same in the past. 

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