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Another Lingayat seer dares Yediyurappa to make BJP MLA a minister

Bengaluru, Feb 29 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa faces an imminent revolt if he does not make a ruling BJP legislator a minister soon in compliance with the wish of another Lingayat seer in the southern state.

“If Yediyurappa does not make BJP’s Gulbarga South MLA Dattatreya Patil Revoor a minister, I will get 10 ruling party legislators resign and reduce the government to a minority, forcing the Chief Minister to resign,” said Srishaila Saranga mutt seer Deshikendra Swami at a meeting in Kalaburagi on Friday.

Kalaburagi is about 575km north of Bengaluru in the southern state.

Addressing a gathering of the Lingayat community, to which Revoor belongs, the seer said though he wanted Yediyurappa to complete the remaining 3-year term in office and the BJP to return to power for another 5-year term, his continuation would become untenable if the 2-time lawmaker was not made minister in the next cabinet expansion.

“Yediyurappa will be in office for the next three years if he makes Revoor minister. If not, I will ask him (latter) also to resign, as does not need to be in politics anymore because he has a house, many acres of agricultural land and is very rich,” the seer told the gathering in Kannada.

In his nomination to contest in the May 2018 assembly elections, Revoor, 37, declared in an affidavit Rs 17-crore assets, including immovable properties.

Wishing Yediyurappa to remain in office for the next three years and return as Chief Minister again for another term, the seer said if he (Yediyurappa) goes, then the Lingayat community would not get an opportunity to have its leader as Chief Minister again for at least 30 years.

Yediyurappa, 77, who hails from Shikaripura in Shivamogga district in the state’s central or Malnad region, is considered the tallest Lingayat leader of the politically powerful community, which accounts for 18 per cent of the 6.5-crore state’s population.

Though a dozen BJP legislators won from the erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region in the May 2018 Assembly elections, only Prabhu Chauhan from the adjacent Bidar district was made minister for animal husbandry.

The Saranga mutt’s seer threat comes a month after Veerashaiva Lingayat Panchamasali seer Swami Vachananda, 35, dared Yediyurappa to make 3 of the community legislators ministers ahead of the second cabinet expansion on February 6.

At a Lingayat gathering in the state’s Davengere district on January 15, Vachananda told Yediyurappa to make party’s Bilgi legislator Murgesh Nirani Minister, failing which the community would withdraw its support to the ruling party.

Hiryur is about 300km northwest of the southern state’s capital Bengaluru.

Ticking off the young seer, a defiant Yediyurappa, however, threatened to walk out of the meeting if he was blackmailed for making Lingayat MLAs ministers.

“You cannot threaten me saying your sub-sect (Veera Shaiva) community would not support the BJP in the next assembly or Lok Saba elections, due in 2023 and 2024,” retorted Yediyurappa, reasserting his status as the community’s strongman in the state.

In the second cabinet expansion, only 10 newly elected legislators who defected from the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) were made ministers, leaving 6 posts vacant in the 34-member ministry.

In the first cabinet expansion on August 20, 2019, 17 party legislators were made ministers.

Nirani and others, who were present on the dais, pacified Yediyurappa to take his seat and requested the seer to avoid making political speech on such occasions.

“The chief minister threatened to resign than succumb to pressures from religious or community followers,” a party official told IANS then.

–IANS

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