Kalaburagi: With elections to the state Assembly fast approaching are leaders of the Akhila Bharat Veerashiva Mahasabha (ABVM) and Vishwa Lingayat Mahasabha (VLM), launched recently as a parallel body, burying their hatchet?
Leaders of both factions, who could not see eye to eye until recently, attended a function in Aland town on Saturday to lay the foundation stone for a Lingayat Bhavan to be built by the Aland taluk unit of the ABVM. And no leader present made any mention of a separate religious tag for Lingayats that has been the bone of contention between the two divisions.
Interestingly, Aland MLA, B R Patil, who is also the senior vice-president of the VLM, took the lead in organising the function, where the statue of social reformer, Basavanna was unveiled by former Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shivaraj Patil.
Besides Mr B R Patil, the VLM was represented by Dr Sharanaprakash Patil. Although the Minister for Water Resources M B Patil was invited, he did not turn up, but sent a message to the organisers. As for ABVM, among its prominent leaders at the function were its national president, Shyamnur Shivashankarappa, state unit president, N Thippanna, and general secretary, Eshwar Khandre, who is also the Minister for Municipal Administration.
All leaders present emphasised Basavanna’s call for embracing people of all sections and not discriminating against them on the basis of caste and religion. Later, speaking to the media, Mr Shivashankarappa said he had participated in the function as it was organised by the local unit of the ABVM and Dr Sharanpraksh Patil said he had attended it in his capacity as the district in- charge Minister..
More significantly, Mr Shivashankarappa said the ongoing agitation for a separate religious status for Lingayats would die down once the elections were held. “Who will listen to the voices of these leaders (leading the movement for it) once they lose their Ministership”, he asked sacrcastically.
To a query, he said the ABVM would not accept any report submitted by the experts committee constituted by the Karnataka State Minority Commission on a separate religious tag for Lingayats.
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