Lingayat Minority Issue: Acid test for Modi

The BJP government elected by a sweeping majority in 2014 in center will finally find itself in a precarious position due to the aggressive bait thrown at them by the parting Congress government in Karnataka in the form of granting minority status to Lingayats as a pre-election gimmick. True to its nature, even this time Congress hasn’t shied away from opening new fissures in the Indian polity and society. But BJP, which had put almost all pro-Hindu (core) issues on the back-burner to recklessly chant growth mantra, cannot finally hide behind the burqa of ignorance on core issues.

So what is the issue?

  • Lingayats form approximately 17% of Karnataka population. Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah has thrown the minority bone to the community and left the issue in GoI’s court i.e. Modi government. Since BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa, himself belongs to the same community, it is a political masterstroke by Clivish Siddaramaiah. This brings us to the genesis behind this development

Why is the minority tag so covetous?

Those aware of the core issues know that the debate lies at the heart of challenging Idea of India brigade and total annihilation of Hindutva goes through the assembly line of indoctrination i.e. schools and colleges. Not only education paves the way for employment in the modern economy but also provides the perfect establishment for planting social ideas, the ideas which can outlive the ruling dispensation in a democratic society.

A brief over-view of this issue can be read here and here. To briefly summarize- the current constitution provides great sectarian benefits to the minorities, both in terms of administering their educational institutions and getting exempted from economically devastating acts like Right to Education as well as provide other facilities like scholarships etc. The minority tag now overshadows the benefits under the old caste based quota systems.

Under these circumstances the right question therefore is, why did it take so long for one of the social groups under Hindu umbrella to realize this opportunity rather than why are Lingayats demanding minority tag? Actually, Ramkrishna Mission had fought for the coveted minority status long ago already, so Lingayats are not the first to cross the line to enjoy the benefits of sectarianism encoded in the Indian constitution. The battle has only gone to the next stage now, Mandal is dead!

Course of action for Modi government

  • The Ugly– As blind as a political party can get to achieve the next political victory, the ugly outcome will be where Modi government officially presides over the writ to divide different Hindu groups by distributing them minority status. This will pave the way for next wave of Mandal style politics and give a deadly blow to Hindu consolidation.
  • The Bad– Do nothing. Sitting over the core issues has been BJP’s forte till now and they can wait it out till the next elections or the one after that. As and when the next central government forms under or with the support of Italian witch, the bad (in)action will quickly turn to ugly like it did in the case of 93rd amendment.
  • The Good– BJP realizes it has overslept and finally wakes up to take the bull by its horn. It takes the bait thrown by Siddhu as a God sent opportunity to dismantle the whole IOI eco-system and put Hindus on equal footing with other religious at least in the matters of education.

BJP has long tried to push these issues under the rug, but it cannot any longer. Siddhu in his over-enthusiasm is running scorched earth policy and BJP just cannot do what it does best i.e. ignore. The Bad course of action is just the Ugly action with some time lag. The historic moment is here to seize, can BJP deliver or waste the 2014 mandate?

 

Image credit: https://www.news18.com/news/india/lingayat-seers-amp-up-pressure-on-siddaramaiah-for-separate-religion-status-veerashaivas-say-they-are-one-1693075.html