Karnataka: Panchamasali Lingayat Mahasabha Demands Five Cabinet Berths From Congress, Leader Of Opposition Post From BJP

Swarajya Staff

May 24, 2023, 10:33 AM | Updated 10:32 AM IST

Lingayat Panchamasali Mahasabha.
Lingayat Panchamasali Mahasabha.
  • At least 16 Panchamasali Lingayats cutting across party lines were elected to the state assembly in the recently-concluded state assembly election.
  • All India Panchamasali Lingayat Mahasabha, headed by senior Congress leader and Hungud legislator Vijayananda Kashappanavar, unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that the newly-elected Congress government in Karnataka induct at least five Panchamasali leaders in the cabinet.

    Basava Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swamy, the influential seer of Lingayat Panchamasali Peetha of Kudalasangama and the honorary president of the Panchamasali reservation agitation committee presided over the meeting.

    In a resolution passed during the meeting, the Mahasabha demanded that five Panchamasali legislators, including Kashappanavar, Hubli-Dharwad Rural MLA Vinay Kulkarni and Belgaum Rural MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar, must be accommodated as Cabinet ministers.

    The Mahasabha also urged BJP to elevate a Panchamasali Lingayat as the opposition leader.

    The Mahasabha is slated to meet the leaders of two principal parties and submit the resolution.

    Earlier last week, Dharwad District Panchamasali Samaj urged Congress to make Kulkarni the Deputy Chief Minister.

    Kulkarni, the prime accused in the 2016 murder of zilla panchayat member and BJP activist Yogeshgouda Goudar, was elected from the Dharwad Rural constituency.

    Kulkarni, who was barred from entering Dharwad district by the court and could not campaign in the constituency, still managed to regain the seat.

    Kulkarni served as a minister in the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government but was defeated in the 2016 state election.

    Kashappanavar too demanded fair representation for the community. He credited the Panchamasali mobilisation in favour of Congress for defeat of two BJP Ministers — Murugesh Nirani and Govinda Karjola — in Bagalkote district.

    At least 16 Panchamasali Lingayats cutting across party lines were elected to the state assembly in the recently concluded state assembly election.

    10 Panchamasalis won contesting as Congress candidates: Vijayananda Kashappanavar (Hungund), Vinay Kulkarni (Dharwad Rural), Lakshmi Hebbal (Belagavi Rural), Babasaheb Patil (Kittur), Ashok Managuli (Sindgi), Allamaprabhu Patil (Gulbarga Dakshin), B R Patil (Aland), Ganesh Hukkeri (Chikodi-Sadalga), M Y Patil (Afzalpur), Bharamgouda Alamgouda Kage (Kagwad).

    Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal (Bijapur), C C Patil (Naragunda), Aravind Bellada (Hubballi), Siddu Savadi (Terdal), M R Patil (Kundgol) won contesting as BJP candidates.

    Rajugouda Basanagouda Patil (Devara Hippargi) was the lone winner representing JD-S.

    The Panchamsalis subsect constitutes nearly 60 per cent of the Lingayat community in the state. For several months leading up to the assembly election, the Mahasabha had launched a series of agitations to include their community under the 2A category within the backward classes in the state.

    Demanding enhanced reservation for the community, Panchamsalis led by two of its powerful seers — Kudalasangama Panchamasali Peetha seer Basava Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swami and Swami Vachananand Guru of Veerashaiva Lingayatha Panchamasali Jagadguru Peetha in Harihara — undertook a series of protests including a month-long ‘padayatra’ from Kudalasangama covering a distance of 700 km.

    The padayatra traversed through various villages and towns dominated by the Panchamsali subsect.

    The sustained agitation by Panchamasalis proved a serious political challenge for the state BJP as it exposed the internal fault lines within the party.

    The agitation was withdrawn days before the state polls after the BJP government introduced a new reservation matrix by abolishing religion-based reservations by scrapping 4 per cent reservation given to Muslims in Karnataka under 2B of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and distributing it to Veerashaiva-Lingayats and Vokkaligas.

    Get Swarajya in your inbox.