The demand for the tag of a separate religion and minority status has been a long pending demand of the Lingayat community.
The Lingayats also known as the Veerashaiva community owes loyalty to the social reform movement of the 12th century initiated by Basaveshwara has a considerable population in the northern part of the state. "It was also chose to forward the same to the Central government for notifying under Section 2 (d) of the Central Minority Commission Act", law minister T.B. Jayachandra said quoting the cabinet decision.
"Based on the recommendations of Karnataka State Minorities Commission, the state cabinet has unanimously made a decision to grant status of religious minority to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats (believers of 12th century social reformer Basava's ideologies)", state Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra told the media after the cabinet meeting. The Lingayat/Veerashaiva community, a politically dominant group in Karnataka, are devotees of Shiva. "We have been asking for the Veerashaiva faction to produce historical documents to back their claims but neither did they do it when we were discussing a joint proposal, nor are they doing it now" he claimed. The state cabinet has accepted the recommendations of Justice Nagmohan Das committee.
Taking to Twitter, political analyst Ratan Sharda said that despite requests by saints to not break up the Hindu community, chief minister Siddaramaiah and the Congress party declared Lingayats as a separate religion.
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Amidst reports of differences between Ministers belonging to both Veerashaiva and Lingayat faiths, Karnataka government has agreed to recommend separate religion status for Lingayat community on Monday. There have been nine chief ministers from the community.
In January 2018, the committee recommended "religious minority tag" for Lingayats. The state government has forwarded its recommendations to the Centre, who has to take the final decision.
Lingayats are believed to be the largest vote bank with almost 20% electorate in Karnataka, which goes to polls in barely two months time.
The Congress move aims to divide the votes BJP would rely on to win the election.