Divisive politics, fumes BJP

BENGALURU: In the first sign that the BJP will counter the Congress move to divide its Lingayat votebank, a senior BJP leader said his party, plans to slam the Congress government for recommending religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva-Lingayats and will make it an issue during a nationwide campaign on divisive politics even as he ridiculed president Rahul Gandhi for stating that his party was striving for an inclusive society.

Party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Muralidhar Rao lambasting the state government and Congress leaders for taking a hasty decision on the issue of separate religion status, said here on Wednesday: “In Gujarat, they tried to divide Patels, In Rajasthan, they have divided Jats and in Karnataka, they have divided Lingayats. So, this is not confined to Karnataka alone. As people of this community reside in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the issue has become a national issue."

Taking potshots at Mr Rahul Gandhi, Mr Rao said the Congress, after being reduced to 44 seats in Lok Sabha and losing power in one state after another, claimed that the Congress was the only party which believed in an inclusive society, and unity in the country. “It was the then Union home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, who rejected the proposal (in 2013 on the plea for separate religion status for Lingayats). Then for four-and-half years, you keep quiet. On December 22, you constitute an experts committee and in February, the committee hurried through to elicit opinion and in no time, it gave a report which came before the cabinet. Just two weeks before the announcement of calendar of events for the elections, you cleared this. This clearly exposes your inclusive politics," he charged.

While ducking a query on whether the BJP would make it a poll issue, he said that it had become one. "The community and people will decide."

He wondered why Mr Gandhi did not speak about deteriorating law and order, or about radical networks operating in coastal Karnataka. "That party is becoming a greatest threat. This behaviour corroborates that it is bordering on complicity in its behaviour. He has not met a single member of the family who lost their kin in communal violence. This shows that the Congress is least bothered and least sensitive to acts of terror,” he said.

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