Yediyurappa’s move to grant reservation to Lingayats deferred after high command’s intervention
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s sudden move to provide reservation to the dominant Lingayat community in the state has been put on hold after the party high command intervened. The move to defer the decision was announced by the CM himself who said, “The decision (on providing reservation to Veerashaiva Lingayats) will be taken after my visit to Delhi as this is a special decision which requires more discussion. Even my cabinet colleagues are of the same view.”
The move to provide reservation to the Lingayat community who at 16-17% of the state population are the single largest community was seen as the CM’s signalling rebellion to the party high command. Yediyurappa who hails from the community is seen as its champion. The CM has been upset over continued statements by some leaders in the party about leadership change and him being replaced apart from the inordinate delay in approving cabinet expansion.
The party high command and the local leadership are also said to be not in sync on who would be inducted. However, the CM commenting on cabinet expansion said, “It will happen in 2-3 days. I have spoken to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and they will send a list (of ministers) soon.”
Currently, Veerashaiva Lingayats come under Other Backward Class category with some of the sub-sects getting preference under Category 3B in which 5% reservation is based on economic criteria. Yediyurappa’s current proposal would enable Lingayats as a whole to get quota under the 27% reservation for OBC’s in central government jobs and educational institutions. The move if successfully implemented would also further enhance his stature as the tallest leader of the community.
Law minister J Madhuswamy explaining the reason why the decision to grant reservation to Lingayats was deferred said, “There are various communities which are seen as forward but are actually backward. So we wanted to take a holistic view with the help of anthropological studies and thus the deferment.”
Also inclusion of any community in the Central OBC list will happen after the state government recommends it and the Centre accepts it. Home Minister Amit Shah is said to have asked Yediyurappa not to take a decision in this regard though Madhuswamy refused to comment on this saying, “We will take a holistic decision keeping all factors in mind.”
Last week Yediyurappa had ordered the setting up of a Veerashaiva Lingayat Development Board with an initial corpus of Rs 500 crore leading to clamour from various other communities for similar initiatives. On Friday, a delegation of Kuruba (traditional shepherd community) leaders met the Chief Minister and demanded a similar corporation for upliftment of their community. BJP MLC Vishwanath speaking to the media said, “We also want a development board with a similar corpus. We also want our community members to be inducted into the cabinet during expansion.”
The Kurubas at 11% of the state’s population are the third largest community after Lingayats and Vokkaligas. Numerous Lingayat mutt heads including Basava Peetha head Jaya Murtunjaya Swami and Vachananda Swami of Panchamsali Mutt have demanded that the government immediately announce reservation for Lingayats.
Senior political analyst Manjunath commenting on Yediyurappa’s move said, “This is clearly a signal to the BJP high command by Yediyurappa that unless he is allowed to continue as CM and form a cabinet of his choice, he will take counter-measures. In 2012 too, he has walked out of the party. It would be interesting to see how the BJP high command tackles the challenge posed by Yediyurappa.”
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