Congress-bashing at BJP's veerashaiva-Lingayat meet

Kalaburagi: The Veerashaiva-Lingayat convention organised here by the BJP, turned into a platform for Congress bashing with its leaders accusing Congress leaders of “changing their tunes” on the Veerashaiva-Lingayat issue after tasting defeat in the Assembly election and for attempting to divide the community by launching an agitation for separate Lingayat religion.

The BJP leaders mainly targeted Lingayat leaders in the Congress like Mr M.B. Patil, Dr Sharanprakash Patil and Mr B.R. Patil, for changing their stance on the issue by now saying that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same, to draw votes for the Congress.

“People of the community showed the door to these leaders. Now we see Congress leader Mr Mallikarjun Kharge who has never worn an orange cap (symbol of Lingayats) in his life, sporting one. The community should send him home by supporting Kalaburagi BJP candidate Dr Umesh Jadhav,”  community leaders asserted.

Most leaders also lashed out at Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge for showing 'disrespect' to the seer of Siddaganga Matha Shri Shivakumaraswamiji by organising a seminar while the mourning period after his death was still on. "Power has gone to Priyank's head. He organised a seminar involving 'anti-national' elements such as Kanhaiya Kumar and Asauddin Owasi at a five star hotel while the entire state was mourning the Swamiji's death. He should be taught a lesson by defeating his father in this election", Vijayapura MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal stated.

Kalaburagi MLA Appugowda Patil Revoor felt Priyank should be taught a lesson as he has spoken ill of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by asking the latter to do his "pada pooja" (worshipping his feet). Terming former Minister Vaijanth Patil as the real champion" of the movement for securing special status for Hyderabad-Karnataka, former minister Malikayya Guttedar took Mr Kharge to task for taking the entire credit for himself. "I was with him for a long time, I know his real opinion about the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community", he remarked.

Sedam MLA Rajkumarpatil Telkur said Mr Kharge had no moral right to seek Veerashaiva-Lingayat votes as he always worked against the interests of the community. BJP State General Secretary N Ravikumar recalled the opposition voiced by Mr Kharge when there was a move to name Gulbarga University after social reformer Basavanna. "No good will happen in society or  in the state if the dominant community is divided,” he cautioned.

Dr Jadhav said when he was asked to return to the Congress fold, he told a senior Congressman who approached him that he would do it if "Mr Priyank is removed from the Cabinet within 24 hours for showing disrespect to the Siddaganga Matha seer. The Veerashaiva-Lingayat community believes in social justice. I implore the community to give me justice by supporting me in this election", he said.

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