Quota politics returns to haunt K’taka CM

Reservation politics is back to haunt Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is busy with the tension of cabinet expansion ahead of the assembly elections to be held in 2023 in the state.

Bommai is being challenged by the Jayamrutyunjaya Swamiji, a prominent Lingayat seer from Panchamsali sub sect that if reservation is not provided for the sub sect under 2A category before April 14, a state-wide agitation would be launched.

The Chief Minister, who heaved a sigh of relief after state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel announced that though the party would expand the cabinet there would not be any change in the leadership, has again come under pressure as the quota issue will have direct implication on the poll prospectus of the BJP.

The demand by Panchamsali swamiji is likely to open the Pandora’s Box in connection with reservation. Kuruba community has been demanding their inclusion into the ST category. However, the backward community leaders have objected to it and warned of massive protests if their quota is cut short to accommodate Kuruba community.

Reservation for Panchamasali sub sect is tricky as, it would antagonize the Lingayat vote base for the BJP. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had assured in March 15, 2021 that he would announce reservation in next 6 months.

CM Bommai held a meeting in October, 2021 and assured that he would fulfill the promise by the end of budget session. However, there is no discussion on the issue as yet.

The sources in the party say that the ruling BJP is in no position to rake up the issue which has all possibilities to create hostilities between communities and give advantage to the opposition Congress.

Attempts have been made to minimise the impact of reservation movements within Panchamasali sub sect by establishing a parallel Panchamasali Peeth in the state. With the Jayamrutyunjay Swamiji setting a new deadline, the BJP will have a tough time to assuage the community.

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