BJP President Amit Shah Monday maintained that the Siddaramaiah government’s move to accord separate religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats was aimed at preventing B S Yeddyurappa from becoming Chief Minister. “This Siddaramaiah government has brought this proposal, not because it has love for Lingayats, but to prevent Yeddyurappa from becoming Chief Minister,” he said addressing a Coconut Growers Convention here, as he began his two-day tour of election-bound Karnataka. “I want to tell Karnataka people that if BJP wins a majority, we will make Yeddyurappa Chief Minister,” he added. Yeddyurappa is considered a Lingayat strongman.
The state cabinet had recently decided to recommend to the Centre to accord religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats, in a move seen as an attempt to chip away at the BJP’s strong Lingayat voter base. Shah said that the proposal, which was rejected by the then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre in 2013, was only aimed at creating confusion among people.
He, however, believed that the people of the state would not be enticed by Siddaramaiah’s “divide-and-rule politics.” Congress President Rahul Gandhi should first point fingers at Siddaramaiah for dividing people before accusing BJP of it, Shah said. He also likened Siddaramiah’s divide-and-rule politics to that of the British.
“The Congress ship is sinking and to save it,the Congress is making its last efforts, and what it is doing? It is making efforts to divide people.” “The Congress Chief Minister is playing divide-and-rule politics of the British,” he said.
Shah also criticised the Siddaramiah government for not bringing in the proposal earlier. “The Siddaramaiah government has proposed to accord religion and minority status to Lingayats, but why did it not do it earlier? Because that time, there was no need for gaining votes,” he said. He also launched a scathing attack on the Siddaramaiah government for failing to prevent farmers’ suicides in the state.
“In five years of Siddaramaiah’s rule as many as 3,781 farmers committed suicides. I want to ask the government, who is responsible for these suicides?” he asked. Shah said suicides in Congress-ruled states are always on the increase, whereas it dwindles in BJP-ruled states like Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
“In BJP-ruled states farmers’ suicides are nigh to nothing. Wherever the Congress rules, the suicides of farmers increases, but decreases in BJP-ruled states.” “If you vote Yeddyurappa to become Chief Minister, I assure you farmers’ suicides will come to a halt,” he said.