Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accepted the recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee to give Lingayats a separate religious status. This comes a month ahead of the elections while the Lingayats have been making their demands for years.
BJP's Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa had come down heavily on the Congress government, accusing it of appeasement politics ahead of the state assembly elections. The Lingayat strongman it seems does not want to go from being the leader of a Hindu upper-caste to becoming the head of a 'minority’ religion.
What has, however, caught people's attention is a memorandum from 2013 where Yeddyurappa had sought a separate religion status for Veerashaiva-Lingayats.
The memorandum, written by Shamanur Shivashankarappa, President of Ahikal Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha, an umbrella organization of Veerashaivas and Lingayats across the country, had urged then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to "provide a separate number, column, code and abbreviation to record the religion of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community in the census form”.
A similar memorandum was submitted to the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, on July 7, 2013, to consider granting Veerashaiva-Lingayat a separate religion status for the purpose of gathering census data, on par with other minority religions like Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.
As many as 57 sitting MLAs and MPs from Congress JD(S) and BJP had signed the memorandum in 2013 and 27 of them were from BJP including Basavaraj Bommai, Prabhakar Kore, Umesh Katti, Laxman Savadi, Aravind Bellad.
Yeddyurappa has said that there should be a discussion about the matter wit Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha.