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Karnataka elections: BJP trains its gun on Siddaramaiah for ‘corrupt Lingayat CM’ comment; No word from Yediyurappa yet!

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Mysuru: Has former chief minsiter Siddaramaiah stirred a hornet’s nest while speaking about the Lingayat community? For, his comment on Lingayat and corrupt chief minister has snowballed into a major controversy with the Opposition playing the Lingayat card to the utmost, on Sunday.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah, while answering to a query on BJP’s push for Lingayat chief minister, had stated that “There is already a Lingayat chief minister. He’s the root of all the corruption in the State.” This was enough for the BJP that has been aiming its guns on the Congress veteran and this could not have come at a time when the State was celebrating Basava Jayanti on Sunday.

Without blinking, the BJP made a scathing attack on Siddaramaiah stating that he has insulted the community, that forms a major chunk of state’s population. The community has always played a decisive role in the State’s electoral politics.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that it was not appropriate for Siddaramaiah, who is a former chief minister to speak like this. “He has stated that the entire Lingayat community is corrupt. He had tried to break the Lingayat-Veerashaiva community, when he was the chief minister. He will be taught a lesson by the people,” CM Bommai said. Drawing a comparison with Rahul Gandhi’s controversial remark on PM Modi surname, CM Bommai said that Siddaramaiah called the whole community corrupt. “This is the culture of Congress. His comment has offended the community and it will teach a lesson,” he added.

As the row intensified, Siddarmaiah issued a press statement clarifying his remark. In the clarification he issued, Siddaramaiah said that my statements have been “twisted and misinterpreted” for sheer political gains. “For I have never said that. My reference to corrupt chief minister was only in particular to Basavaraj Bommai not the whole Lingayat community. This is not the way to twist facts,” he said. He further said that the State has seen many chief ministers from the community including Veerendra Patil, Nijalingappa and J H Patel. They were all statesmen. “I only said the current chief minister was corrupt,” he added. Stating that he has highest regard for the community, Siddaramaiah said that in the last election, the party had fielded 47 Lingayat candidates. This time, there are 53 candidates from the community in the party. “We do not select a chief minister based on the caste. It is left to the high command,” he had stated.

But the BJP went on complaining that Siddaramaiah has offended the community. Former deputy chief minister and BJP veteran K S Eshwarappa stated that the Congress party was the one that divided the community. “Siddaramaiah lost his position as chief minister as he tried to divide the community. Now, he has stated that Lingayat chief ministers in the State were corrupt. He will have to pay heavy price for it, as the community’s curse will not leave him.”

Other BJP leaders like V Somanna, MP Pratap Simha, R Ashoka too criticised Siddaramaiah for attacking Lingayat community and observed that the community would be watching all these and would decide his fate.

Coming to his support, Congress leader MB Patil came down heavily on BJP stating that the party was known to twist facts. “Siddaramaiah’s reference was only to CM Basavaraj Bommai and not the community. The BJP has no other business but to twist facts and spread false information.”

Interestingly, Lingayat strongman and former chief minister B S Yediyurappa has not reacted to Siddaramaiah’s row, yet.

-Team Mysoorunews

 

 

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