After senior Congress leader and Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar made a shocking confession, alleging that previous Karnataka government supported the separate Lingayat religion agitation for electoral purposes, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy distanced himself from Shivakumar’s statement. While claiming that his government has not interfered in the matter, Kumaraswamy said that he had always asked religious leaders to discuss and resolve the issue.
“It is not related to me. We have not discussed the issue after the new government came to power. I don't know in what context DK Shivakumar said this. Even during the previous government's tenure when both the communities (Lingayat and Veerashaiva) sparred against each other, I said that the religious leaders from both the communities must sit together and resolve the issue. I reiterate my stand,” said the Karnataka Chief Minister.
Earlier in the day, Shivakumar said that the previous government led by Congress party has committed a grave mistake by supposedly attempting to break a religion and politicise a religious issue. He indirectly referred to that issue and attributed it to the results in the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections.
“We've committed a grave mistake during our tenure. Government at any juncture must not politicise 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 committed any mistake, please forgive us. No government should ever interfere in religious matters. Religion should not be politicised. We should protect religion and not destroy it,” DK Shivakumar.
Shivakumar’s statement triggered a massive controversy pitting his own party leaders against him. DK Shivakumar’s colleague MB Patil lashed out at him and said that such issued should be ‘discussed within four walls of the party’.
The former water resource minister in Siddaramaiah's government, Patel, also insisted that the demands by the party ahead of the Karnataka elections 2018 had not damaged the party in any sort of matter.