Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa’s conundrum over Lingayat reservation | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BS Yediyurappa is under pressure over the issue of granting 2A category reservation to the Panchamasali sect

BENGALURU: Over the past three months, chief minister BS Yediyurappa has gotten himself entangled in a reservation issue, and he now faces growing pressure from within and outside the government.
It started when he announced a separate development corporation for Lingayats and later suggested that the state government was considering to include the community’s Panchamasali sect in the reservation category. Quota is a complex issue that often ends up in courts, and the central and state governments generally avoid raising expectations. Yediyurappa flirted with the idea, but soon realised that it would be extremely difficult to fulfil any such promise. His detractors in and outside BJP then saw an opportunity to push him on the backfoot and demanded that he clarify his stand.
On Friday, senior BJP MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal, a Lingayat and an ardent Yediyurappa critic, raised the topic in the assembly. Yediyurappa replied that he didn’t have powers to decide on reservation as it came under the Centre’s ambit. The statement angered Lingayat seers and legislators and hours later, he backtracked. “Lack of judgement by the chief minister led to this debacle. In his attempt to dismiss off Yatnal, he made a rash statement that caused a ripple effect,” said a cabinet member.
Lingayat mutts of the Panchamasali sect had reportedly advised Yediyurappa to have a formal discussion within the government and send a message to the community that he was trying to get them justice. He apparently forgot about it amid Covid concerns and other commitments.
After the comments in the assembly on Friday, Yediyurappa consulted Lingayat ministers and issued a statement that he was referring the Panchamasali Lingayats’ demand for 2A category reservation to the state backward classes commission.
Lingayat MLAs plan to ramp up pressure on him during a community rally that’s being planned for February 10. “We will definitely make our stand clear at the rally and demand justice for the community that has always backed Yediyurappa,” said an MLA.
The MLA claimed that RSS supported the reservation demand, but an RSS functionary denied this. “It is unrealistic to provide reservation to one of the largest communities in the state. The community is fairly wealthy and holds considerable land,” the functionary said. The central BJP leadership had reportedly warned Yediyurappa against making any assurances.
Yediyurappa has sent ministers Murugesh Nirani and CC Patil to assuage the Panchamasali sect, which took out a padayatra for quota recently. Nirani and Patil are likely to meet K Jayaprakash Hegde, chairman of the backward classes commission, next week as part of damage control. “We will have to wait it out as the procedure is clear that any reservation demand must be routed through the commission,” Patil said.
Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad said: “We still believe that Yediyurappa will get us justice.”

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Sagar Biswas

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