It seems that all is not well within the Congress party in Karnataka. The recent controversy surrounding Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar's comment has escalated. Members of the Rashtriya Basava Sena protested against DK Shivakumar at Vijayapura district in Karnataka.
The protesters shouted slogans against the Karnataka minister and burnt his effigy on the streets. They also him to apologise to the Lingayats for allegedly hurting their community. "There is a conspiracy to break the Lingayat community. ED, CBI recently conducted raids on DK Shivakumar's house. Rumours are doing rounds that BJP is using him to break Congress party. He wants to emerge as a leader by letting down the Lingayat community." A member of the outfit said.
READ: ‘It Is Not Related To Me’: Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy Distances Himself From DK Shivakumar’s Admission About Congress Role In Trying To Create A Separate Lingayat Religion For Electoral Purposes
Following the comment made by DK Shivakumar, Congress MLA MB Patil has escalated the issue. " The issue was discussed in cabinet meetings chaired by former CM Siddaramaiah. Why didn't he raise the issue that time? It's ok if the KPCC chief makes such a statement. But who is he to make this statement? Is he apologising for the party's dismal performance in South Karnataka? He has embarrassed the party so the party must take action against him."
DKS' statement has also drawn the ire of Lingayat seers who have been backing the separate religion status for the community. "His statement is condemnable. Former CM Siddaramaiah's decision to forward the proposal to grant separate religion status to Lingayats was a historic move.
''There may be various political connotations to DK Shivakumar's statement. But earlier why didn't he raise his concern when the decision was being made in the cabinet? He owes an apology to our community." - Dr. Maathe Mahadevi, Chief, Basava Dharma Peetha
Many Congress leaders like Vinay Kulkarni have come out and expressed dismay over the recent controversy. As the political stand-off over DK Shivakumar's apology escalates, JD(S) has distanced itself from the issue. The BJP, on the other hand, is claiming vindication. It's needless to say that the political spat over the separate Lingayat religion row has done more harm than good.