The Economic Times daily newspaper is available online now.

    Siddaramaiah rejects allegations of sidelining Lingayats; BJP seizes opportunity


    Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has rejected allegations made by his own party leader, Shamnur Shivashankarappa, that the Congress regime had neglected the interests of Lingayats in the state. Shivashankarappa, who represents Davanagere South in the assembly, called for a leader from the community to be appointed as chief minister.

    CM rejects party colleague's charge that Congress sidelined LingayatsIANS
    Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday rejected the allegations of his own party leader, 92-year-old Shamnur Shivashankarappa, that the Congress regime had neglected the interests of Lingayats in general, and the community officials in particular.

    Shivashankarappa, who represents the Davanagere South in the assembly, is also the president of the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha. He also batted for the CM's post for a leader from the community, barely days after the AICC issued a gag order to the party men not to air opinions on these posts in public.

    Veerashaiva-Lingayats are also Karnataka's largest and politically influential community, represented in the assembly by former BJP CMs BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai, among others.

    While the veteran leader's comments have left the Congress on the defensive, the BJP has jumped at the opportunity, seeking to amplify Shivashankarappa's sentiments and capitalise on them ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

    Siddaramaiah did not agree with the perception of his party colleague, insisting that his government had treated everyone equally. "Ours is a secular government, which functions above caste lines. All our programmes including Anna Bhagya, Shakti, Gruha Jyothi and Gruha Lakshmi reach members of all communities," the CM told the media in Bengaluru.

    Shivashankarappa, whose son SS Mallikarjun is a minister in Siddaramaiah's Cabinet, had told the media on Saturday that Lingayats were being sidelined under the Congress, and most important positions in the government were being occupied by non-Lingayat officials.

    Yediyurappa, Bommai and BY Vijayendra strongly backed Shivashankarappa, while urging the community members to stay alert against the Congress. Bommai said the CM owed a reply to his party colleague's comments.

    Experience Your Economic Times Newspaper, The Digital Way!
      (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

      Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.

      The Economic Times

      Stories you might be interested in