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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah's Lingayat religion gambit: A make or break for the Congress!
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has opined that Lingayat is a different religion (not Hindu) and should be given minority status. He sent the ball rolling towards the Centre to take a final decision. Now if the Centre agrees to it, all the credit will go to Siddaramaiah, but if the Centre rejects it, then also, Siddaramaiah will be benefited by vilifying the BJP in the eyes of the Lingayat community.

Lingayats are considered as traditional BJP supporters, thus, it can be said that Siddaramaiah has played a political masterstroke catching the BJP off guard and clueless on how to respond.

However, independent political analysts have expressed that this move from Siddaramaiah might prove to be counterproductive. In 2013, the UPA government had rejected such a proposal citing that Dalits from the Veerashaiva community would be at a disadvantage if the Lingayats are granted a special religion status.

Also, internal dispute has erupted among Lingayat-Veerashaiva communities on this issue with some even blaming Siddaramaiah for dividing the Lingayat community. On the other hand, the non-Lingayat communities in Karnataka as well as in the rest of India have also been angered on the issue because they see it as creating divisions in Hinduism for the sake political gains. Thus, how this issue will affect the Congress politically, only time will tell.

But then, the question arises whether the Karnataka CM has committed anything wrong? In this case, the term 'secularism' gains significance. The Constitution says that the Indian state should remain secular, which means no concern with religion. So, how can a state meddle with matters concerned with any religion? Is India a theocratic state which has the authority to decide or specify which religion should exist or which shouldn't? Pakistan as a theocratic state can say Ahamadiyas are not Muslims or Saudi Arab state can say that only Sunnis are Muslims. But how can India as a secular state start recognising a new religion? The Congress claims itself to be a secular party, but does such an act justify the party's claim?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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