Bengaluru, (DHNS): A day after Siddaganga Mutt seer Shivakumara Swami clarified that Lingayats and Veerashaivas are one, the two warring camps on Wednesday got into a huddle to thrash out a consensus on the separate religion issue.
While both camps agreed on the need for a separate religion, the bone of contention was whether it should be called Veerashaiva-Lingayat or just Lingayat.
Water Resources Minister M B Patil, who was left red-faced after the Siddaganga Mutt refuted his claim that it supported the demand for a separate Lingayat religion, was conspicuous by his absence. The Mutt’s rebuttal was seen as a setback for the campaign spearheaded by a section of leaders within the ruling Congress. The two-hour meeting was attended by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha president and veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Municipal Administration Minister Eshwar B Khandre, Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni, Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy, Aland MLA B R Patil, retired IAS officer S M Jamdar and JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti, among others.
They were hosted by Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil at his residence.
“We concurred that our common goal was to get a separate religion tag, because our faith is different from the Hindu religion. The question remains whether it is Veerashaiva or Lingayat,” Rayareddy told reporters after the meeting. “The discussion dealt with ideological and legal aspects. We felt an expert committee should be formed to achieve clarity,” he said.
CM, Patil mum
One camp argued that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same, whereas the other camp contended that Veerashaivas are a sub-sect of the Lingayat community.
It was “unanimously decided” that both camps shall not publicly air views on the separate religion issue. “The meeting is a step in the right direction. It is important that we stand united so that our community does not get fragmented,” Khandre said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and M B Patil refused to comment on the statement made by Siddaganga Mutt seer. It is rumoured that the Chief Minister expressed his displeasure at the war of words among his ministerial colleagues on the religion issue.
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