Karnataka Mutt politics warms up; BJP, Congress vie for seers’ blessings

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 6: Road to power in Karnataka crosses lanes of several Mutts in the state. The Mutts hold catchment vote base, and their blessings play instrumental role in the poll mandate in Karnataka.

Lingayats, the largest caste vote base, have their own Mutts. Vokkaligas, another vote base, too have their own Mutts. Besides the two large caste groups, the scheduled castes too flock to Mutts of their own choices in Karnataka. Karnataka Assembly elections slated for April-May this years may see the political leaders making beeline to a number of Mutts.

The Bharatiya Janata Party chief JP Nadda during his two days visit to Karnataka went on a Mutt darshan spree, with a clear focus on such places which are worshipped by Dalits. Nadda’s focus has been North Karnataka, which is the catchment area of the BJP.

“Nadda visited five to six Mutts in two days. He has sought blessings of the Mutts patronized by Dalits. He also visited Lingayata Mutts. These Mutts will be instrumental in the BJP bid to consolidate the support base in North Karnataka, which includes areas of Hyderabad Karnataka and Mumbai Karnataka,” said a senior BJP functionary from Bengaluru.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Karnataka to celebrate the 75th birth day of the party’s chief ministerial face Siddaramaiah had visited Shri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Mutt in Chitraguda where he had taken ‘deeksha’. Congress’ campaign committee chief MB Patil, a Lingayata, is also making a regular visit to Mutts. Congress’ state unit chief DK Shivakumar is a regular to Mutts in the state.

Nadda visited Panchmasali Mutt in Harihara. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai-headed BJP government in the state is keeping the quota politics alive by promising to accommodate the demands of the sub-sects of the OBC groups. He has already hiked the quota for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes in the state for which several reports had been pending for years.

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah in April had visited Tumakuru Mutt. The BJP top brass had seemingly taken the pontiffs of Linagayata Mutts in confidence before taking the decision to replace the party veteran BS Yediyurappa by Bommai as the chief minister of Karnataka earlier. Shah is learnt to maintain a close contact with several seers of Mutts in Karnataka, and he’s likely to visit some of them in the coming months in the run up to the elections in the state.

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