Why Are Lingayats So Dominant In Karnataka Politics? | India News

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2023: If you are following Karnataka elections, you must be hearing about a particular community again and again – Lingayats – people of a particular faith who are touted as the deciders of politics in the crucial Dravidian state. Every party, be it BJP or the Congress, is trying their best to woo the community. The Lingayats, that form almost 17 per cent of Karnataka’s population, are said to be the ‘people in powerful positions’. The dominance of the community can be evaluated from the fact that out of 

How are they connected to Hinduism?

Lingayats follow Basava, a 12th-century poet who challenged temple worship and caste discrimination. He wanted a religion of equality for all genders and faiths. Many backward caste people became Lingayats to escape the rigid Hindu caste system.


Are Lingayats And  Veerashaivayas Same?

No. Lingayats claim ‘they are not Hindus because they treat everyone equally, regardless of gender or caste.’ They don’t follow Hindu rituals or texts like the Vedas. They worship Shiva as a formless spirit (ishta linga), not as an idol with a snake.


Lingayats: A look at Numbers, Seats They Influence

Lingayats are almost, everywhere in Karnataka. They are heavily influential in North, and powerful in the South too. They have 54 MLAs from different parties, mostly BJP. Out of 23 CMs since 1952, 10 were Lingayats. Lingayats make up 17 per cent of the population. Vokkaligas constitute 15 per cent, OBCs 35 per cent, SC/STs 18 per cent, Muslims about 12.92 per cent, and Brahmins about three per cent.

Is BJP Trying To Recover A Lost Ground With Lingayats?

Yediyurappa Hurdle

Despite being removed as the Chief Minister, Yediyurappa stays at the biggest Lingayat leader in the state. BJP still doesn’t have a mass leader like him in the state. Lingayats were upset when BJP removed him as Chief Minister. BJP gave him a big role in Delhi and then asked Yediyurappa to appeal to Lingayats to forgive BJP for his removal. 

In order to get into a damage control, BJP took away 4 per cent OBC quota from Muslims and alloted 2 per cent each to Lingayats and Vokkaligas. The BJP government shifted Muslims to the 10 per cent Economic Weaker Section group. The Congress, on the other hand, has said that it will restore quota for Muslims if it comes to power.


Congress’ Gameplan To Woo Lingayats

Lingayats have largely remained loyal to the BJP. But Congress wants to change the status quo. Recently, two big Lingayat leaders – Laxman Savadi and Jagdish Shettar joined Congress, from the BJP.  Congress has been attacking the BJP on top Lingayat leaders’ exit from the party. aid their exit hurts the community. Rahul Gandhi, in almost all his election speeches, has said that RSS and BJP are against the beliefs of Basavanna, the Lingayat guru.

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