ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP and Lingayat Maths

Shivasundar (“BJP in Karnataka: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”, EPW, 28 April 2012) has missed highlighting the contribution of earlier Lingayat political leaders in his analysis of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) present corrupt rule in Karnataka and how the present Veerashaiva Lin gayat religious heads in the state have interfered in governance by supporting BJP leaders like B S Yeddyurappa. E ar lier Lingayat political leaders (former chief ministers S Nijalingappa, S R Kanthi, B D Jatti, Veerendra Patil and J H Patel) made outstanding contributions to the political and economic development of Karnataka since its formation. From the time of Nijalingappa, the fi rst Congress chief minister of the newly formed Karnataka in 1956, all successive chief ministers who belonged to the Lingayat community did not use the Lingayat maths for their p olitical gains. These maths too did not bother to cultivate p olitical leaders to gain access to the state exchequer. It goes to the credit of B S Yeddyurappa who distributed state grants to these maths and also provided police protection to some of their heads!

The BJP in Karnataka can at best be described as the Bharatiya Jati (caste) Party. The Veerashaiva Lingayat maths in Karnataka are supposed to spread the message of the 12th century saint Basava’s universal values of secularism and brotherhood. But these ideals have been discarded by some of the Lingayat maths in Karnataka who have politicised themselves by supporting Yeddyurappa, who will go down in the history of Karnataka as a leader without values, except perhaps for “currency values”!

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