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Lingayat seer hands Amit Shah a resolution calling on Centre to recognise sect as minority

BJP says no such memorandum has been handed over to party chief Amit Shah and that the issue did not come up for discussion.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2018 23:53 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Chitradurga
Lingayat seer,Amit Shah,Bharatiya Janata Party
BJP president Amit Shah looks on during a statewide door-to-door campaign in Davanagere on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah was on Tuesday faced with an awkward situation when the seer of a Lingayat math in Chitradurga handed him a memorandum asking for the central government to grant minority status to the sect.

Shah, who is on a two-day tour of poll-bound Karnataka, visited the Murugha Math in Chitradurga, one of the five he visited during this period.

Shah was taken into the chamber of Shivamurthy Murugha Swamy and discussions were held.

Coming hours after Shah termed the state government’s decision on the Lingayat issue an effort to stop the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa from becoming CM, the memorandum came as a reminder that the move was backed by some powerful maths.

“The government of Karnataka has rightly recommended to the Central Backward Commission in this regard. Minority status to this religion will definitely deliver some benefits to the youth of the community - individually and collectively,” the memorandum says.

Swamy later said he had informed Shah that everybody was welcome in the math but that it was a secular math based on the principles of 12th century philosopher Basavanna.

“I told him that this is a long pending demand of the whole community and the Centre must keep our interests in mind,” Swamy said.

State law minister TB Jayachandra said the ball was in the Centre’s court. “It will be interesting to see what Shah says about the memorandum,” he said.

Meanwhile, B Muralidhar Rao, BJP general secretary in charge for the state, said no such memorandum had been handed over to Shah. “The issue didn’t even come up for discussion,” he said.

However, former Union minister GM Siddeshwara, who was also present at the meeting, confirmed that the pontiff had handed over documents to Shah. “I cannot say for certain that the Lingayat issue was discussed because the swamiji and Shah were seated at a distance from us,” he said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 23:52 IST