After Marathas, Lingayats get Development Corporation in Karnataka

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Secular sections have come out against the decision saying it would divide the society on caste lines

After Maratha Development Authority (MDA), the BJP-led government in Karnataka has sought to appease the politically influential Veerashaiva-Lingayat community by setting up a development corporation for them.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced the formation of the Veerashaiva - Lingayat Development Corporation a day after a group of ministers and Lingayat MLAs led by Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi pushed for it. They argued that the community, which accounts for 17% of the population, was one of the most neglected communities in the state.

However, secular sections in the community have termed it as caste based politics, which will devide the society on caste lines. They pointed out that the government had constituted a Kaadu Golla Development Corporation with an eye on Sira by-elections which the BJP won.

Similarly, the Maratha development board with an initial funding of Rs 50 crore, was set up keeping an eye on the Basavakalyana Assembly by-election. The creation of a Maratha development board has angered Kannada activists who have threatened a Karnataka Bandh in protest against the government’s “appeasement policies”.

The opposition Congress has dismissed the decision to float the VLDC, saying that it will not serve any purpose. Instead, there should be reservation for the Veerashaiva- Lingayats in education and government jobs. It may be recalled Siddaramaiah-led government had moved for a separate religion tag for the community.

The decision is likely to trigger demand from other communities. Vokkaligas, the second-most powerful caste after the Lingayats, have already come up with a demand for a separate corporation for the community. SR Vishwanath, senior BJP MLA and CM’s political secretary, has said Vokkaligas also deserve a corporation on the lines of the one created for the Lingayats (with inputs from news agencies)

Image Credit: News Minute

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