Commenting on BJP’s outreach of the Lingayat community in poll-bound Karnataka, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that a Lingayat leader -referring to CM Basavaraj Bommai — is the “root of all corruption in the state.”
Siddaramaiah was responding to a question asked about the saffron party saying that a Lingayat should be the next leader of the state.
To this, Siddaramaiah said, “there’s already a Lingayat Chief Minister. He’s the root of all the corruption in the state,” according to NDTV.
The BJP has reacted to his comments saying that he has insulted the entire Lingayat community.
CM Bommai said that Siddaramaiah’s comments were a direct insult to the community and the BJP will teach him and his party a lesson in the forthcoming state elections.
This discourse went on, as Siddaramaiah replied to Bommai’s comment saying that his comments referred only to him, and not the entire community and that there have been several honest Lingayat chief ministers who he respects.
Siddaramaiah said that his comments referred only to Bommai, and not the entire community and that there have been several honest Lingayat chief ministers who he respects.
He also alleged that BJP has “twisted and misinterpreted” what he said. “I only said Basavaraj Bommai alone is corrupt. I did not say Lingayats are corrupt. Therefore, making such a sweeping report is inappropriate,” he said.
This comes as Lingayat leaders of the BJP have raised the pitch for unleashing the “Lingayat CM” campaign in poll-bound Karnataka to counter the Congress’ narrative to brand the ruling party as “anti-Lingayat”.
The politically influential Lingayat community forms about 17 per cent of the State’s population, mostly in northern parts of the State which the BJP counts as its strong vote-base.
Senior Lingayat leaders Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi quit the BJP over denial of ticket to contest in the May 10 Assembly elections and joined the Congress. The ruling party has been on a damage control mode since then with the Congress accusing it of doing “injustice” to Lingayats and being “anti-Lingayat”.
With inputs from News18