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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

BJP criticised for misusing Kotnoor incident to project Congress as anti-Lingayat

Congress leaders from Kalaburagi, particularly those hailing from the Lingayat community, condemned the BJP for misusing the recent attack on a Lingayat family by Dalit youths at Kotnoor (D) village to project the Congress as anti-Lingayat.

Addressing a joint media conference at the local Congress office in Kalaburagi on May 5, Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil, MLAs B.R. Patil, M.Y. Patil and Allamprabhu Patil – all from the Lingayat community – said that BJP was misusing the incident to project Congress as anti-Lingayat in a desperate bid to get the community support as it did not have any achievements to show.

A group of Dalit people had, late on April 30, barged into the house of Sangamesh, a Lingayat, who was accused in the B.R. Ambedkar’s statue desecration case reported on January 23, 2024 and assaulted his family members.

“BJP doesn’t have anything else to show as its achievements. That is why it is misusing the incident to project Congress as anti-Lingayat in a desperate bid to mobilise Lingayat votes in its favour. As a matter of fact, the BJP is anti-Lingayat. It did not induct any Lingayat MLA from Kalaburagi district in the State cabinet when it was in power. The Lingayat community in the region is strongly backing the Congress. There are four Lingayat MLAs in the district including me. We couldn’t have been elected without the support of my community. Lingayats have rejected BJP as it had done nothing for the community or the region,” Mr. Sharan Prakash Patil said.

Allamprabh Patil, a Lingayat leader and MLA for Kalaburagi South, said that Congress leaders, including himself, met the victims immediately after the attack and assured them to take all legal action.

“We met the family which was attacked and assured them to take all legal action. All those who were involved in the incident are immediately arrested. As per the victims’ demand, the case is now handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department of the State police. It is noteworthy that no BJP leader visited the family at least for a courtesy. Now, Umesh Jadhav, the BJP candidate for Kalaburagi in the current Lok Sabha elections, is raising the issue to blame Congress for the incident and seek Lingayat votes,” Mr. Allamprabhu Patil said.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Priyank Kharge appealed to the people to closely examine the track record of his family before deciding on whom to support in the current election.

“My father Mallikarjun Kharge has been in politics for the last 50 years. I have been in active politics for the last 20 years. In our prolonged political life, there is not even a single incident where we supported the Dalits in filing a false atrocity case against other communities. For us, all are equal and all should live with dignity on equal footing, just as the 12th Century social reformer and poet Basavanna said,” he said.

Mr. Priyank also said that it was the Congress government led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that declared Basavanna as the cultural leader of Karnataka and took initiative to open Vachana Sangralaya.

“My family is the follower of the integrated philosophy of Buddha, Basava and Ambedkar. Our government has declared Basavanna as the cultural leader of Karnataka. We have decided to open Vachana Sangrahalaya which would help study the lives and works of Lingayat Sharanas [reformer poets]. We believe in the peaceful coexistence of different communities. BJP is trying to divide the communities along religious and caste lines and create enmity among them just for political lines. We won’t allow it to happen,” Mr. Priyank said.

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