It was on the finish of July 2011 that Lingayat strongman and Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa resigned after occupying the submit for a bit of over three years in his first stint within the submit. In lower than two years, his newly based political outfit Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) had induced a close to rout of the BJP because it garnered about 11% of the vote share, mentioned to be largely Lingayats, making method for the Congress to return to energy.
Days shy of a decade of his resignation again then underneath a cloud of corruption fees, Mr. Yediyurappa is once more underneath stress from the celebration’s central management to step down and permit a clean transition even because the Veerashaiva-Lingayat card is at play once more in Karnataka politics.
During the last couple of days, as hypothesis is rife over the upcoming exit of the veteran chief, a host of Lingayat seers have prolonged assist and urged him to remain put. The All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, an organisation with appreciable sway over the group and with grassroots presence in 22 districts within the Lingayat heartland, has rallied behind him. In a improvement that has taken many Congress leaders abruptly and but once more underlined how caste affiliation can lower throughout partylines, two of its senior Lingayat leaders, nonagenarian Shamanur Shivashankarappa and M.B. Patil, have urged the BJP to not change Mr. Yediyurappa.
No alternate options
The absence of a pacesetter with mass enchantment among the many Lingayats, who may probably change the ageing chief, is believed to be the rationale for the group to rally behind him regardless of allegations of corruption, nepotism, mishandling of COVID-19 and the issue of his advancing age.
Information evaluation | Lingayat group’s response at core of Karnataka drama
With out an appropriate various on the horizon, the group feels that there could possibly be a “vacuum” in a context the place the second-generation group leaders haven’t but proven potential to emerge as a pan-Karnataka consultant.
“The group sees him as an undisputed chief as of now, and it wants him. For political optics, he’s utilizing it for his profit we effectively,” a Lingayat chief mentioned, underlining this symbiotic relationship. “We’d like a mass chief and a profession politician who can provide his all and is aware of the dynamics right down to the constituency-level. You may draw parallel from H.D. Deve Gowda amongst Vokkaligas or Siddaramaiah among the many Backward Lessons.”
Mahasabha office-bearers consider that Mr. Yediyurappa organically grew to the stature of group chief with out a lot assist of the Mahasabha or the mutts within the preliminary days. It was the post-political decline of Veerendra Patil, S.R. Bommai and J.H. Patel, different tall names locally, that the seek for a pacesetter by the group led to him.
The Lingayat group, a numerically strongly one comprising a substantial part and with large land holdings, is seen strongly behind the BJP now. Its gradual transfer away from the Congress started after the land reforms initiated by the late D. Devaraj Urs within the Nineteen Seventies. Nevertheless, sensing the emergence of a Lingayat Chief Minister, the group, together with different dominant castes of Vokkaligas and Brahmins, sided with the celebration in 1989 when 48 of the 178 Congress legislators had been Lingayats.
The unceremonious exit of the late Patel, nonetheless, led them again to Janata Parivar, and with the emergence of Mr. Yediyurappa, introduced them to the BJP post-2004. It was this political analogy that Shamanur Shivashankarappa reminded the BJP central management of any “journey” to take away Mr. Yediyurappa.
The BJP, which had 39 Lingayats out of its whole 108 seats within the 2008 elections, noticed solely 10 Lingayats of the entire 40 legislators being elected, whereas the KJP received six seats in 2013. The KJP additionally broken the BJP’s prospects in about 30 seats.
Barring 2013 when the vote break up because of the KJP helped the Congress, the BJP has had greater than 30 Lingayat legislators in 2004 (31), 2008 (39) and 2018 (38), whereas the Congress, which within the Nineteen Seventies had about 50 Lingayat legislators, is now diminished to between 14 and 16 Lingayat legislators.
For the BJP, the difficulty in eradicating Mr. Yediyurappa once more at this juncture appears to be difficult as it may antagonise a group that has returned nearly 40% of its whole legislators. The Mahasabha claims that it’s not solely the seats that the BJP wins from the Lingayat heartland within the central and north Karnataka area, but in addition that, in its estimate, in about 135 seats, together with over 30 reserved constituencies, Lingayats are electorally important.
Any makes an attempt to prop up one other Lingayat to switch the veteran chief, whose hyperlinks to RSS is many years previous, may ruffle feathers. “It may solely be a compromise. The group has chosen him as its chief and won’t settle for plans made elsewhere. A vacuum in management is what the group is nervous about,” mentioned one office-bearer.
Lingayat leaders consider that the parade of the spiritual leaders to reveal their assist additionally comes from the group stress. It’s estimated that about 3,500 mutts scattered throughout the State have affect over the almost 98 sub-sects locally, and highly effective ones comparable to Sirigere take a political stand. Whereas the mutts have been instantly benefited from Mr. Yediyurappa’s regimes, with huge budgetary allocations, the devotees need them to face by the chief now in hassle.
The opposite aspect of the coin can be that this extreme dependence on Mr. Yediyurappa and Lingayats has made leaders from different communities uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the actual fact stays that the celebration over the last decade has not invested in younger leaders from totally different communities and areas to scale back the Lingayat affect and dependence inside the celebration.
A Lingayat chief from the Congress, Basavraj Rayareddy, whereas criticising the involvement of the spiritual heads in political affairs of the celebration, additionally felt that folks would “see by means of these political posturing.”
Political observers consider that although Lingayats have been voting for the BJP with the Yediyurappa issue being an necessary part, it is usually fallacious to imagine that each one their votes go to the saffron celebration. The Congress holding on to about 15 seats stays a sworn statement. A number of the Lingayat legislators inside the BJP additionally really feel that the affect of Mr. Yediyurappa could possibly be waning and the political scenario now could be totally different in comparison with 2013, with age not on his aspect.