Bengaluru, (DHNS): The BJP on Wednesday said the government's decision to accord religious minority status to Lingayat-Veerashaiva community was a "pure election gimmick" and charged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with dividing the society.
Addressing a press conference here, BJP national general secretary incharge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Rao termed the decision to constitute an expert committee "all of a sudden" in December last year, on according minority status to Lingayat-Veerashaiva faith, as "politically motivated and an election ploy."
"The manner in which the panel came out with the report itself is questionable. The committee requested for more time, which was not accepted by the government. There was no consultation or participation of seers or the general public. The report was prepared bypassing everything," Rao charged.
Rao accused Siddaramaiah of not only cheating the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, but also playing with their sentiments by taking a decision to recommend religious minority status to the Centre, in spite of being aware that the Congress-led UPA government, in 2013, had refused to consider the request made in this regard by the Veerashaiva Mahasabha.
The BJP general secretary came down heavily on Congress president Rahul Gandhi for not talking about the attacks on Hindus during his two-day tour of coastal and south Karnataka. He said Gandhi had also not raised the issues of suicide of thousands of farmers, crumbling infrastructure, murder of RSS/BJP and Hindu workers under the Congress regime.
"I can describe the entire exercise as three Rs â€“ Rahul's Repeat and Rhetoric. Rahul Gandhi has skirted all these issues," Rao said. He said that the second phase of the 'Save Bengaluru Campaign' will commence on March 26.
Earlier in the day, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said a senior leader of the Congress would join the BJP. This senior leader is apparently unhappy with the decision of the government on the Lingayat issue. But Yeddyurappa did not disclose any name. He said that the Centre had agreed to include Parivara and Talavara communities under Scheduled Tribes.
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