Published On: Wed, Mar 28th, 2018

Minority status to the Lingayats only election stunt: Shah

Davangere (Karnataka): Dubbing the Karnataka government’s notification of religious minority status to the Lingayat community an election stunt, BJP’s national President Amit Shah on Tuesday said appeasement polices were the culture of the Congress.

Siddaramaiah is the leader who wears a watch worth Rs 40 lakh

“Appeasement policies, which are the country’s biggest enemies are the culture of the Congress, as evident from the religious minority status the ruling party in Karnataka had given to Lingayts ahead of the state assembly election,” Shah told reporters here, about 260km from Bengaluru.

Recalling that the then UPA government had rejected the state government’s proposal to recognise Lingayats as a separate religious community, Shah dared the Congress to explain why the decision was made only before the assembly election and not during its five-year rule in the southern state.

“The minority status to the Lingayats is only an election stunt enacted by the ruling Congress to appease the community’s voters,” asserted Shah on the second day of his two-day visit to the poll-bound southern state.

The state’s welfare department on March 23 notified the minority religion status to Lingayat followers of the 12th century social reformer Basava amid protests by the Veerashaiva Lingayats who were ignored.

Lingayats, who worship Hindu god Shiva as their deity, and Veerashaiva Lingayats constitute the largest community (17 per cent) in the state.

Recalling what a retired Supreme Court judge from the state had told him recently that the Siddaramaiah government was the most corrupt, the party chief said how many could afford to wear a Rs 40 lakh wrist watch as the state’s chief minister did, indicating the high level of corruption.

Shah’s reference to the expensive watch of Siddaramaiah was made in the context of the state assembly election on May 12, as announced by the poll panel earlier in the day.

Sparking a war of words, Siddaramaiah admitted a year ago to have received an expensive Swiss-made Hubolt watch from an Indian in the Gulf region.

“How many people can afford to wear a watch worth Rs 40 lakh? Siddaramaiah is the leader who wears a watch worth Rs 40 lakh,” alleged Shah.

Ruling out pre-poll alliance with any political party, including regional party Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) for the assembly poll, Shah said the BJP would contest in all the 224 assembly segments, including 36 for SCs and 15 for STs.

“We are not allaying with any party for the ensuing assembly election. The JD-S will contest by itself and we will contest by ourselves,” added Shah.

Welcoming the single-phase one-day polling for the assembly election on May 12, Shah claimed that his party was confident of winning and forming the next government in the state under B.S. Yeddyurappa’s leadership.

The BJP had declared Yeddyaurappa as its chief ministerial candidate for the assembly poll, while the ruling Congress high command decided to contest under the party’s collective leadership.

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