"The UPA government had rejected the recommendation (to give Lingayats the status of a minority group) in 2013. The present decision has only been taken to stop Yeddyurappa from becoming the CM. This is an election gimmick," Mr Shah said.
When asked about the Karnataka chief minister's comment last month that Mr Shah is a Jain, the BJP chief said, "I am not a Jain, but a Hindu Vaishnav."
Responding to Mr Shah's barb that Siddaramaiah is not an 'AHINDA' (a Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) leader but 'AHINDU' (non-Hindu) leader, the Karnataka chief minister had said last month in Mysuru that Mr Shah should first clarify whether he himself is "a Hindu or not".
Ahead of the assembly elections, the Congress government in Karnataka on March 19 decided to recommend to the Centre that Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats should get the status of religious minority.