Lingayat community unhappy with BSY resignation

Even though BS Yediyurappa claimed his resignation was voluntary, his removal presents a challenge for the saffron party in the coming days
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Published on Jul 27, 2021 01:08 AM IST
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By Arun Dev, Bengaluru

Even though BS Yediyurappa claimed his resignation was voluntary, his removal presents a challenge for the saffron party in the coming days. The first signs of trouble came hours after his resignation when some seers of the Lingayat community warned the BJP of consequences for removing the 78-year-old leader. In some parts of the state, protests were reported against the high command.

“BS Yediyurappa has given his resignation in pain. Karnataka BJP will be washed away in tears. BJP should reconsider its decision,” Dingaleshwara Swami, one of the prominent seers in Karnataka. The Lingayat community forms close to 16% of the state’s population and Yediyurappa has been the tallest leader of the community.

Moreover, rumours that a non-Lingayat leader could be the next chief minister has irked the Lingayat community. “We have been hearing names of Brahmin and Vokkaliga chief minister candidates. These are only rumours and the decision will be taken by the central high command, considering all aspects but several Lingayat leaders are unhappy with this someone outside the community becoming a chief minister,” said Lingayat legislator on the condition of anonymity.

Shikaripura, Yediyurappa’s constituency in Shimoga district, witnessed an undeclared bandh in the afternoon with shops and other commercial establishments shut in protest, soon after Yediyurappa’s resignation. Even though Yediyurappa was born in the Mandya district, Shikaripura became the base of his political activities. In Hassan, supporters of Yediyurappa took out a march on the main streets raising slogans. They criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, maintaining that they forced the chief minister to resign.

Another leader added that among the other Lingayat leaders, no leader could be considered a leader for the community. “Yediyurappa is the only mass leader in Karnataka. More than the party, in many cases it is his following that brings the votes. In a way, it is good that the replacement is taking place now because we will have some time to calm nerves before the elections,” he said.

For the BJP, the Lingayat seers are not the only problem. The 12 legislators from Congress and the JDS defected to the BJP and helped Yediyurappa form a government in July 2019. When there was a delay from the central leadership in accommodating these leaders into the cabinet, it was Yediyurappa who stood firm by them. With the news of Yediyurappa’s removal, these MLAs have got into a huddle.

When asked about the future of these MLAs, Yediyurappa on Monday said that they are all together. However, it remains unclear whether these MLAs will keep portfolios they are holding now, with Yediyurappa having no say in deciding the cabinet.

These MLAs resigned from the respective parties to join BJP on the promise of getting minister posts. In case, any of them are removed from the current posts, it could lead to problems for the BJP since the party came to power because of these turncoats.

“He (Yediyurappa) was mentioning to me that on July 26, he may receive a favourable decision from the high command. But things have happened on the contrary. We all have to abide by the decision… but he is exiting only from the chief minister post and not from active politics,” said K Sudhakar, one of the turncoats.

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