Bengaluru: 500 pontiffs demand OBC tag for all Lingayat subsects | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Even as Panchamasalis, a dominant subsect of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, are on a 450km padayatra seeking reservation under 2A category, over 500 seers of the community from various states are set to launch an agitation seeking the Other Backward Communities (OBC) status for all subsects of the community at the national level.

The seers will participate in the convention in Bengaluru on Saturday, and send a memorandum to the Centre through the chief minister, demanding reservation in education and jobs. The convention is organised by the National Federation of Lingayat Pontiffs.
Quota pressure grows on govt
Political analysts said the convention on Saturday is to counter the Panchamasali movement that’s threatening to take the community away from BJP. “It appears to be a move to regroup other subsects in the Lingayat community to keep BJP’s votebank intact. Since Panchamasalis are seeking reservation only for themselves, other subsects are feeling marginalized. Some forces within the community are trying to cash in on that sentiment,” said a BJP functionary.
Panchamasali pontiffs, who all along backed chief minister BS Yediyurappa though he’s from Ganiga subsect, are now rallying behind Panchamasali leaders such as Vijayapura MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a known critic of the CM. Recently, when Yatnal confronted Yediyurappa on the reservation issue in the assembly, the latter had responded by referring the issue to the Backward Classes Commission.
In Karnataka, 42 Lingayat subsects enjoy 5% reservation under 3B category. The federation said it is seeking the OBC tag for all Lingayat subsects at the national level without hurting the interests of those who are already covered by reservation and those seeking quota under a particular category — an oblique reference to the Panchamasali movement.
The Panchamasalis are demanding upgrade from 3B (which assures 5% quota) to 2A (15%) within the state’s OBC quota. “Panchamasalis are farmers. A majority of them are socially, economically and educationally backward and need reservation under 2A,” said Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swamy of Panchamasali Peetha in Kudalasangama who is leading the padayatra to Bengaluru. The padayatra entered the 28th day on Friday.
The pontiff said he would go on an indefinite strike from February 21 — the day Panchamasalis are staging a rally — if the government did not make an announcement before the start of the budget session in March.


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Sagar Biswas

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