Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday hit out at Opposition leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s recent “corrupt Lingayat chief minister” remark.
Siddaramaiah reportedly said that, “There’s already a Lingayat chief minister (Basavaraj Bommai). He’s the root of all the corruption in the state,” in response to a question on the BJP’s stance that a Lingayat should be the next chief minister.
Bommai in response said, "I didn’t expect such a statement from Siddaramaiah about a Lingayat CM. He is a senior leader. He has given a statement that triggers the Lingayat community. It is wrong to call the Lingayat community itself corrupt. The people will teach them (Congress) a proper lesson.”
It is not right for a former CM to make a statement like this. He has stated that the entire Lingayat community is corrupt, Brahmin community had been ridiculed in the past. Earlier, he had tried to break the Lingayat-Veerashaiva community when he was the Chief Minister. The… pic.twitter.com/VJ6Ixavahb— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2023
BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya took to Twitter to say, "Earlier Congress tried to break the Veerashaiva Lingayat community. 7 crore Kannadigas, who follow the ideals of Jagadguru Basavanna, will soon respond to him and the Congress."
After Rahul Gandhi called all OBCs ‘chor’, it is Siddaramaiah’s turn to make insensitive and hurtful comment tarnishing a community. He called all members of the Lingayat community corrupt, who are ruining the state.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 22, 2023
Earlier Congress tried to break the Veerashaiva Lingayat… pic.twitter.com/ta7NnvVhkQ
Siddaramaiah issued a clarification stating that his remarks only referred to Bommai and that BJP has "twisted and misinterpreted" his remark.
"My comments referred only to Bommai. I only said Basavaraj Bommai alone is corrupt. I did not say Lingayats are corrupt. Therefore, making such a sweeping report is inappropriate. There have been very honest Lingayat chief ministers. There was S Nijalingappa, Virendra Patil and others for whom I have a lot of respect as they were very honest chief ministers. My comments have been twisted and misinterpreted by the BJP," he said, NDTV reported.
According to reports, of the 224 assembly constituencies in the state, as many as 100 are said to be dominated by the Lingayat community, mostly situated in north Karnataka. The community has been a strong vote-base for the BJP in the past.
However, it has been raining resignations in the state BJP unit after many veterans didn’t feature in the party’s candidates list for the upcoming assembly elections. Among those who quit are prominent Lingayat leaders Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi who have now joined the Congress.