Karnataka polls: Ahead of May 10 slugfest, top Lingayat Maths draw political visitors

7 May, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

ANI 20230507042232 National

The two most important Lingayat shrines in K'taka, Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math and Moorusavir Math, are once again the focus of attention from influential political figures vying for control in the...

The two most important Lingayat shrines in Karnataka, Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math and Moorusavir Math, are once again the focus of attention from influential political figures vying for control in the state that is headed for elections.

The politically significant Lingayat community continues to be at the centre of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) plans on the ongoing campaign trail, despite the fact that their rivals, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS), are making divergent claims about development and bringing up other issues that have emerged as major talking points ahead of the May 10 election.

The Lingayat seers and their blessings also play a significant role in influencing the final electoral outcome in Karnataka, even though understanding caste arithmetic is seen as the key to getting to the hustings in this southern state.

While the Lingayats have historically supported the saffron side, the rival parties are doing everything in their power to win over seers and voters in advance of the May 10 elections.

Mahesh Tenginkai, the leader of the BJP, visited Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math before submitting his nomination papers, giving away the fact that the saffron party is once more relying on its traditional Lingayat vote base in its attempt to regain power.

However, the two Lingayat maths in North Karnataka, which were instrumental in bringing the BJP to power in 2018, might not ensure smooth sailing for the saffron camp this time as several top BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagdish Shettar, former deputy CM Laxman Savadi, Nehru Olekar, NY Gopalakrishna — all top Lingayat leaders in their own right — switched over to the Congress after being denied tickets to contest the May 10 polls.

Kittur Karnataka (Mumbai Karnataka) and Kalyana Karnataka (Hyderabad Karnataka), as well as 13 districts and 90 Assembly seats, are included in North Karnataka.