In a shocking admission which is sure to embarrass the Congress party in Karnataka, state's minister of water resources DK Shivakumar has indirectly confessed in a rally that his party had supported those who were fighting for a Lingayat religion prior to the state elections in 2018 for electoral purposes.
Addressing the public in the Gadag district, he said, "We've committed a grave mistake during our tenure. Government at any juncture must not politicize religion or interfere in its matters. Many of our ministers opposed it. But the government took a stand considering the situation that existed during that time. There were a lot of political developments happening then. But no government must intervene in matters of religion. Recently concluded events(assembly polls) have reflected the people's sentiments on this matter. If we or our government has commited any mistake please forgive us. No governments should ever interfere in religious matters. Religion should not be politicized. We should protect religion and not destroy it."
Days ahead of the state elections in Karnataka earlier this year, Congress-led state government approved the demand for Lingayat community to be awarded a 'religious minority status'. The community is electorally significant in Karnataka, and constitutes for 17% of the population in the state.
In their election rallies, the Congress party had indirectly put their weight behind a section wanting a different Lingayat religion. Though, their idea to support this campaign backfired for them, as they only managed 80 seats, finishing second behind BJP, which won 104 seats, but fell short of the majority.
Wanting to keep hold of power in the state, Congress formed a post-poll alliance with the JD(S), which saw incumbent CM Siddaramaiah step down and HD Kumaraswamy become the new CM.
It was a very intense affair in the state after polls. Being the single-largest party, BJP was given the go-ahead by the Governor to form the government first by proving their majority at the floor of the house.
Despite their best of efforts, BJP failed to get the numbers, falling short by 9. It paved way for an alliance of Congress and JD(S) to form the government, and much of the credit for this was given to DK Shivakumar.