Karnataka Lingayat Community Karnataka Assembly Election 2023 BJP Congress JDS Spl
Karnataka Lingayat: Less than a year is left for the...
Karnataka Lingayat: Less than a year is left for the Karnataka assembly elections to be held. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Janata Dal Secular (JDS), which are in power in the state, have started preparing for the elections. All the parties are looking at the pulse of the people, what is the mood of the people of Karnataka? Only the party which will sense the mood of the people in the state will get the seat of Karnataka. But despite all the issues in the state, there is one factor that decides the politics of Karnataka. That X factor in Karnataka is the Lingayat community. It is believed that to whomever the Lingayat community turns, the key to power goes to them. After all, who are the Lingayats who play a big role in forming and breaking the government in Karnataka?
224 Assembly and 28 Lok Sabha seats
The state of Karnataka in South India is very important from the political point of view. The state has 224 assembly and 28 Lok Sabha seats. In the current assembly, BJP has 121, Congress 69, JDS 30. At the same time, out of 28 seats in the Lok Sabha, 25 are with BJP, one each with Congress, JDS and independents. BJP’s eyes are fixed on the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha of 2024, it would like to repeat its previous performance. But, the Congress is also taking the issue of unemployment and inflation in the state, so that it can regain its lost power in the state.
18 percent of the population
Political experts believe that in Karnataka, whichever party has established the Lingayat community, its government is formed in the state. Lingayats make up 18 per cent of the total population of Karnataka, who have a direct impact on 110 assembly seats. Lingayat community is counted among the forward castes of Karnataka. Apart from Karnataka, there is a good population of this community in the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
On one hand BJP is in dilemma over Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and former CM BS Yediyurappa, while on the other hand there is a cold war going on in Congress over former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and State President DK Shivakumar over the CM’s chair. However, BJP has convinced BS Yeddyurappa by giving him important responsibility at the national level at the Centre. At the same time, Rahul Gandhi himself has given a message of unity by getting a reconciliation between Siddaramaiah and state president DK Shivakumar in the Congress. But in the coming times, it will be a big challenge for both the parties to keep the factionalism calm.
Where Congress is making an issue in the state regarding rising inflation and unemployment in the country. On the other hand, BJP would like to take a political edge from the recent issue of Savarkar and Tipu Sultan in the midst of all the issues. Also, the absence of a strong CM face can be a draw back for the BJP, as the way BS Yeddyurappa has penetrated the state, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai appears to be less than that. At the same time, both the parties have different issues. But apart from these, Janata Dal Secular also has a lot of penetration in the state.
Who are Lingayats?
In Karnataka, the Lingayat community is included in the upper castes, which are also affluent. Their history dates back to the 12th century. In fact, Basavanna, who became a social reformer in the 12th century, had started a movement among the Hindus regarding repression and high and low in the caste system. Basavanna did not believe in idol worship, as well as rejected the things written in the Vedas. Actually, there are mainly five sects of Hindus in Karnataka, which are known by the names Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, Vedic and Smarta respectively.
Of these, there are many sub-sects of the Shaivite sect. One of them is the Veerashaiva sect, Lingayats are part of this Veerashaiva sect. Other sects associated with the Shaivite sect are known by the names of Vanash, Shakta, Dasnami, Maheshwar, Pashupat, Kaladaman, Kashmiri Shaivism and Kapalik.
Vasugupta laid the foundation of the Kashmiri Shaivite sect in the 9th century, although before this many monasteries of Buddhist and Nath sects existed here. After this Vasugupta had two disciples, Kallat and Somananda, both of whom had laid the foundation of Shaivism or Shaivism. The Vamana Purana mentions four numbers of Shaivism. They are known as Pashupat, Kalamukh, Kalpalik and Lingayat. Presently the Lingayat sect of Karnataka and its neighboring states is a new form of Prachi Lingayat. People of this sect worship Shivling. Lingayats do not believe in Vedic rituals. Lingayats also do not believe in reincarnation, they believe that life is one and one can make his life heaven and hell by his actions.
Political Trend of Lingayats
Lingayats have traditionally been the core voters of the BJP. Lingayats have supported the Bharatiya Janata Party since the 1980s. Ever since the rise of BJP in the 80s, Lingayats reposed their faith in state leader Ramkrishna Hegde. But later Lingayats sided with Congress’s Birendra Patil. Since then the Lingayat community distanced itself from the Congress. Lingayats have long reposed faith in BJP leader BS Yediyurappa after once again returning to Ramakrishna Hegde. He himself also comes from the Lingayat community. Let us tell you that when BJP removed Yeddyurappa from the post of CM, this community once again broke ties with BJP. This is the reason that the BJP party high command sitting in Delhi has entrusted a big responsibility at the national level to BS Yeddyurappa.
Congress’s Master Stroke in 2018
At the same time, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah took a big decision in 2018 just before the elections, accepting the demand for separate religion status for the Lingayat community. The Lingayat community had been demanding a separate religion status from Hinduism for a long time. The then Congress government had accepted the recommendations of the Nagmohan Committee under Section 2D of the State Minority Commission Act. The proposal was sent to the Center for its final approval. Congress supported the demand of Lingayats to give them separate religion status while BJP still considers Lingayats as part of Hinduism.
BS Yediyurappa BJP’s compulsion!
In 2013, when BJP removed the tallest leader of Lingayats (currently) BS Yeddyurappa, the Congress got an opportunity to form the government in the state due to resentment. At the same time, the Congress also knows that it is difficult to climb the ladder of power without the Lingayat community. The decision to give separate religion status to Lingayats just before the elections in 2018 was taken by the Congress to appease the community. However, Yeddyurappa, who was sitting in the opposition at this time, was also unable to oppose this decision from the government.
Issues with both parties
Now once again the assembly elections are near in Karnataka and the Lingayat community is being discussed in the state. Both the parties are trying to attract this community apart from their respective issues. But with the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP has a big party system together. But there is a drawback as there is no big CM face. At the same time, apart from the issues of unemployment and inflation, the Congress can go to the public about the BJP government of Karnataka standing in the dock due to the revelations on the PSI scam. Recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also met people from the Lingayat community.