BS Yeddyurappa flays CM Siddaramaiah for raising issues like separate state flag      

Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa on Friday hit out at the Siddaramaiah government for using issues like state flag and separate religion status to Veerashaivas/ Lingayats for political reasons ahead of the Assembly polls.

"At a time when the election is coming in about 45-50 days, when the election code of conduct will come into place shortly, what is your intention in coming up with Lingayat/Veerashaiva or Karnataka flag issue?" Yeddyurappa asked.

File images of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa. Getty Images and PTI

File images of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa. Getty Images and PTI

Amid reports of differences between ministers,the Cabinet on Thursday discussed inconclusively recommending to the Centre to accord "religious minority" status to the dominant community. It will take up the issue again at the next cabinet meeting on 14 March.

According to reports, differences between ministers in the cabinet belonging to both Veerashaivas and Lingayats resulted in no decision being arrived at.

Commenting on differences within the cabinet on the issue, Yeddyurappa said "Wait for some time.... you people know and have reported about what is happening in the cabinet. You wait and see how twists and turns will happen."

"Despite the issue being discussed in the cabinet for about three-and-half hours (yesterday), it was inconclusive, they have deferred," he told reporters.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has however clarified that paucity of time at the cabinet yesterday had led to discussions on the issue being inconclusive. The demand for a separate religion tag to Veerashaiva/ Lingayat faiths has surfaced from the numerically strong and politically-influential community, amidst resentment from within over projecting the two communities as the same.

While one section led by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha has demanded separate religion status, asserting that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are the same, the other wants it only for Lingayats as they believe Veerashaivais are one among the seven sects of Shaivites, which is part of Hinduism.

Karnataka State Minorities Commission had formed a seven member committee, headed by retired high court Judge HN Nagamohan Das on the issue, which submitted its report on 2 March, stating that Lingayats in Karnataka may be considered as a religious minority.

On BJP's stand on the proposed official state flag, Yeddyurappa said his party does not have any reservation if the common man agrees, but questioned it's timing.

"We don't want to make any comment on this issue...common man's opinion should be taken... if the common man agrees, we also agree, we don't have any reservation," he said.

Questioning the government what they were doing for over four-and-half years, he said "when you are about to go home, why are you playing this as a political game. Why did you remember the flag all of a sudden?" The ruling Congress earlier today had questioned the silence of BJP on the proposed official state flag for Karnataka, a day after it was unveiled by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ahead of the assembly polls.

Updated Date: Mar 09, 2018 22:01 PM

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