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Business News/ Elections / Assembly Elections/  Karnataka polls: Lingayat forum endorses Congress, calls for community's support
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Karnataka polls: Lingayat forum endorses Congress, calls for community's support

While the Lingayats have traditionally leaned towards the saffron camp, the rivals are also leaving no stone unturned to woo the seers and votes ahead of the May 10 polls.

Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat forum issued an official letter extending its support to Congress. (ANI)Premium
Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat forum issued an official letter extending its support to Congress. (ANI)

Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat forum issued an official letter extending its support to Congress in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections on May 10. The forum urged the people of the Lingayat community to vote for Congress, according to the news agency ANI. 

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their rivals -- the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) -- are making contrasting claims on development and raking up other issues that have become major talking points ahead of the May 10 poll battle, but it's the politically-significant Lingayat community which remains central to their plans in the ongoing campaign trail.

While figuring out the caste arithmetic is seen as the key to reaching the hustings in this southern state, the Lingayat seers and their blessings also go a long way in swaying the eventual electoral outcome in Karnataka.

While the Lingayats have traditionally leaned towards the saffron camp, the rivals are also leaving no stone unturned to woo the seers and votes ahead of the May 10 polls.

In a clear hint that the saffron party is yet again falling back on its traditional Lingayat vote bank as they bid to return to power, BJP leader Mahesh Tenginkai paid a visit to Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math before filing his nomination papers, ANI reported. 

However, the two Lingayat maths in North Karnataka, which were instrumental in bringing the BJP to power in 2018, might not ensure smooth sailing for the saffron camp this time as several top BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagdish Shettar, former deputy CM Laxman Savadi, Nehru Olekar, NY Gopalakrishna -- all top Lingayat leaders in their own right -- switched over to the Congress after being denied tickets to contest the May 10 polls.

North Karnataka comprises Kittur Karnataka (Mumbai Karnataka) and Kalyana Karnataka (Hyderabad Karnataka) regions, further accounting for 13 districts and 90 Assembly seats.

Currently, the BJP holds 52 seats from these regions, which are considered Lingayat strongholds, while the Congress has 32 seats and the JDS 6.

However, with several Lingayat heavyweights departing the saffron camp and joining the Congress, the battle to retain these saffron strongholds has got decidedly tougher for the BJP.

 

(With ANI inputs)

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Published: 07 May 2023, 10:33 AM IST
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