A threat by Sri Vachanananda Swami of Panchamasali Peetha to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on stage led to a showdown where the CM refused to be held to ransom for political appointments. On Tuesday, on the backdrop of Hara Jathre in Davanagere district, Vachanananda Swami made a demand for Murugesh Nirani to be made a minister in the upcoming cabinet expansion.
"CM, you are a good man. Murugeshpalya Nirali has stood by you for years, has had your back for years. If you desert him, the entire panchamashali community will desert you," said the seer even as the crowd cheered for him. The statement was met with stiff resistance by the BJP veteran who immediately got up, objected to the demand and threatened to leave. As BSY got up to leave, he was heard saying, "If you speak like this, I will leave the programme. Please forgive me, but such words should not come out of your mouth. You can only give me advice, not threaten me."
After the showdown, while the CM was seated, the veiled threat by Vachanananda Swami continued. He said, "I am only asking for our rights. This is society’s demand. You are a good man, you pls relax. In the by-elections, our community has given you 5 MLAs and strengthen you. Our community and its legislators will be with you at all times. We will altogether build society. We need to strengthen you and ensure you remain CM for 3 more years."
Continuing the arm-twisting, the seer said, "Hope this reaches Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. In Karnataka, 80% panchamasali community is present, it could be veerashaivas or Lingayats. Even in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other states we are present. I tell all MLAs from our community to stand by you at all times." The Chief Minister who is a strong Lingayat face, refused to back down after demands for portfolio allocation was made in public. A visibly less agitated BSY put his foot down in his speech.
"Vachananada Swamy spoke great words. I have just one prayer before him: please understand my situation. 17 MLAs resigned even as ministers and then face ‘vanavas’ for 4 months, I would not have been CM. It is because of their sacrifice and all your blessings I am in this position. Swamiji can give me any advice, I will sit with him and have discussions. I will take advice from all of you on how I should proceed in completing my tenure of 3 years. Or else, I am ready to resign tomorrow. I am not sticking on to my chair. With all your blessings, I have become CM for 4 times and have made an honest effort of alleviating the grief of farmers," he said.
(Image credits: PTI)