Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said he has asked the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes to submit a report on the various demands of the dominant Vokkaliga community in the state. Bommai was reacting to the memorandum submitted by the Vokkaliga ministers and BJP legislators demanding increase in reservation for the Vokkaligas, a farming community.
The key demand of these BJP leaders was that the reservation for Vokkaligas under the 3A category of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) should be increased from four per cent to 12 per cent. "My cabinet colleagues and the MLAs today submitted a memorandum. In their memo, they have said that the Vokkaliga population has increased. They want more opportunities in jobs and admission for their youth," Bommai told reporters.
He added that the Adi Chunchanagiri Math seer Nirmalanandanath Swamiji too had a meeting on this issue and had submitted a memorandum to him as well. The memorandum was later sent to KSCBC. "I sent the letter (submitted by the seer) to the backward class commission last month. I will also send the present memorandum to the KSCBC chairman and ask him to submit a report soon," Bommai said.
According to the Chief Minister, there was a special demand for reservation to the Kunchitigas, who are a sub-caste of Vokkaligas. "There is a separate demand to include them in the Central list," Bommai explained. The Vokkaliga ministers and legislators had a meeting on Thursday under the leadership of state Revenue Minister R Ashoka.
After submitting their memorandum to the Chief Minister, Ashoka told reporters that they have demanded increasing reservation from four per cent to 12 per cent.
"Though our population is 16 per cent, we want 12 per cent reservation," Ashoka said. There are many people in the farmers' community who are living in abject poverty, Ashoka said adding that many Vokkaligas lost their land to various development projects and are financially weak.
The demand comes as the state government made a move to increase reservation from 15 per cent to 17 per cent for SCs and from three per cent to seven per cent for STs. Besides, the Panchamasali community among the Lingayat caste has also demanded their inclusion in the 2A category of OBCs.