Updated: July 18, 2021 11:16:17 am
The Karnataka government, led by B S Yediyurappa, has issued an order allowing the establishment of a Vokkaliga Development Board, setting aside Rs 500 crore for the same. The constitution and the allocation for the same was promised by the chief minister during the 2021-22 budget presentation earlier.
As per the order, the Board will ensure the welfare of all sub-sects in the Vokkaliga community, namely, Vokkaliga, Sarpa Vokkaliga, Vakkaliga, Hallikar Vokkaliga, Namdhari Vokkaliga, Gangadkar Vokkaliga, Das Vokkaliga, Reddy Vokkaliga, Marasu Vokkaliga, Gouda, Gowda, Kunchatiga, Kaapu, Heggade, Kamma, Reddy, Goundar, Namadhari Gowda, Uppina Kolaga and Uttama Kolaga.
With 15 per cent of the state’s population comprising Vokkaligas, the community is considered politically significant as it has been demanding recognition on par with Lingayats for years.
The move is also expected to be a major step taken by the BJP government to make inroads into the old Mysuru region, considered to be the heartland of Vokkaligas.
However, the government order has stated that a separate notification will be issued for jobs in the Vokkaliga Development Board. Meanwhile, party sources indicated that Revenue Minister R Ashoka has been lobbying for Bangalore South MLA M Krishnappa to be picked as the chairman of the Board. Also, a strong Vokkaliga leader from the ruling party, Ashoka’s move is “likely to be considered in the wake of the upcoming BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the civic body governing the Karnataka capital) elections”. Other prominent leaders from the community include state Congress chief D K Shivakumar and former CM H D Kumaraswamy among others cutting across party lines in the state.
Incidentally, the move to constitute the new Board comes a fortnight after the state government decided to develop 46 Kempegowda heritage sites located in Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagara, Chikballapura, and Tumakuru districts, in a bid to promote tourism. Kempegowda, believed to be the founding father of Bengaluru, is a political icon for the dominant agricultural Vokkaliga community in south Karnataka.
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