- Congress insulted 12th century social reformer Lingayats worship: PM
- Lingayat community is seen to have been supportive of BJP in the past
- BJP's presumptive chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is also a Lingayat
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had sought to persuade the Lingayat community to change their stance in the run up to state elections, putting the state's weight behind demands that Lingayats should be recognised as a religious minority. The move has had the BJP scrambling since then to try to neutralise its impact on the politically dominated community that makes up 17 per cent of the state's population. BJP's presumptive chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is also a Lingayat.
PM Modi kept up the effort in his election speech at north Karnataka's Vijayapura today, a region where the community makes up for a large proportion of the voters. It is also close to Basavana Bagewadi, birthplace of the 12th century reformer Basaveshwara.
"I am here in a land closely association with Bhagwan Basaveshwara. His philosophy called for taking all sections of society together. Sadly, the Congress government has not followed his principles. All they are bothered about is their votes," PM Modi said, repeatedly referred to Basaveshwara during his speech.
He also reminded his audience that it was the BJP's Atal Behari Vajpayee who got Basavanna's statute placed in parliament complex. In the decades of rule after the Independence, the Congress never thought of honouring Basaveshwara, he said, accusing the Congress of not acknowledging his preaching that had been an inspiration to the entire world.
"Even Congress leaders have begun to feel that the son would not be able to help the party win Karnataka. So, send the mother to ensure its candidates can save their security deposit," PM Modi said.
He also lashed out at the Siddaramaiah government over alleged corruption, saying there is not a single minister who is not facing allegations of financial wrongdoing.
"Tell me the name of a single minister who is not facing allegations of corruption," he said, a day after Siddaramaiah sent legal notices to PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, threatening to file civil and criminal defamation suit against them for making unfounded allegations against him.