Yediyurappa orders setting up of Karnataka Veerashaiva- Lingayat Development Corporation

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(Eds: Adds CM's statement and fresh inputs) Bengaluru, Nov 17 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday ordered the formation of a corporation for all-round development of the politically-influential Veerashaiva Lingayat community in the state.

Yediyurappa, who himself belongs to the community, issued an order for constituting the Karnataka Veerashaiva- Lingayat Development Corporation (KVLDC) with immediate effect.

It came a day after a group of ministers and BJP MLAs led by Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi from the community called on Yediyurappa demanding setting up of the corporation.

'The state has a huge population of Veerashaiva- Lingayats, of which there are people who are economically, socially and educationally backward.

'Since there is a need to set Karnataka Veerashaiva- Lingayat Development Corporation for the all-round development of this community, it is ordered to immediately set up this corporation,' the Chief Minister said in his order.

The demand by the ministers for a corporation for the Lingayat community came against the backdrop of Yediyurappa's recent announcement establishing the Karnataka Maratha Development Authority earmarking Rs 50 crore.

The decisions to set up the KVLDC and Maratha Development Authority are seen by sections in political circles as an attempt to woo Marathas and Veerashaiva- Lingayats, who are in sizeable numbers in Basava Kalyan assembly segment in Bidar district and Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, bordering Maharashtra, where byelections are due.

Basava Kalyan Assembly and Belagavi parliamentary seats have fallen vacant following the death of sitting Congress MLA B Narayan Rao and BJP MP Suresh Angadi due to COVID-19 recently.

The Congress, however, has earlier dismissed the demand for KVLDC, saying it will not serve any purpose.

Instead, there should be reservation for the Veerashaiva-Lingayats in education and government jobs, it said.

However, the Maratha Development Authority has come in for opposition from some pro-Kannada organisations.

They said if the government did not withdraw the decision, they would hold a bandh on December 5.

'We are warning the government. Before December 5, Yediyurappa should scrap the MDA. If he doesn't do it, we will launch a protest forcing him to resign,' Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha head Vatal Nagaraj told reporters on Tuesday.

As the issue of MDA created ripples in the state, the Chief Minister clarified that the MDA is meant to uplift Marathas and not their language Marathi.

'The Maratha Development Authority is intended to create the development of the Marathas in the state. This authority has nothing to do with Marathi language,' Yediyurappa tweeted.

He added, 'The Marathas have been living in Karnataka for generations and are in the process of establishing this authority in the hope that they will develop their economy, socially and economically.'PTI GMS SS PTI PTI