Karnataka polls: Ahead of May 10 slugfest, top Lingayat Maths draw political visitors – World News Network

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Hubli (Karnataka) [India], May 7 (ANI): Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math and Moorusavir Math, the two top Lingayat shrines in Karnataka, are yet again the centre of attention of key political players vying for power in the poll-bound state.
Even as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their rivals — the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) — are making contrasting claims on development and raking up other issues that have become major talking points ahead of the May 10 poll battle, it’s the politically-significant Lingayat community which remains central to their plans in the ongoing campaign trail.
While figuring out the caste arithmetic is seen as the key to reaching the hustings in this southern state, the Lingayat seers and their blessings also go a long way in swaying the eventual electoral outcome in Karnataka.
While the Lingayats have traditionally leant towards the saffron camp, the rivals are also leaving no stone unturned to woo the seers and votes ahead of the May 10 polls.
In a clear hint that the saffron party is yet again falling back on its traditional Lingayat vote bank as they bid to return to power, BJP leader Mahesh Tenginkai paid a visit to Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math before filing his nomination papers.
However, the two Lingayat maths in North Karnataka, which were instrumental in bringing the BJP to power in 2018, might not ensure smooth sailing for the saffron camp this time as several top BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagdish Shettar, former deputy CM Laxman Savadi, Nehru Olekar, NY Gopalakrishna — all top Lingayat leaders in their own right — switched over to the Congress after being denied tickets to contest the May 10 polls.
North Karnataka comprises Kittur Karnataka (Mumbai Karnataka) and Kalyana Karnataka (Hyderabad Karnataka) regions, further accounting for 13 districts and 90 Assembly seats.
Currently, the BJP holds 52 seats from these regions, which are considered Lingayat strongholds, while the Congress has 32 seats and the JDS 6.
However, with several Lingayat heavyweights departing the saffron camp and joining the Congress, the battle to retain these saffron strongholds has got decidedly tougher for the BJP.
Going back 100 years, Shri Siddaroodha Swami Mutt was built to honour the memory of Shri Siddharoodha Swamy, who took up ‘Samadhi’ in 1929.
In 1919, this Math was visited by Lokamanya Gangadhar Tilak and again in 1924, Mahatma Gandhi paid a visit to the site.
Considered a remarkable religious institution for all devotees, Siddaroodha Swami Math is now taken care of by a trust official.
Weighing in on the political significance of the Lingayat maths, Shekhar Dev Gowda, a trust official attached to Shri Siddaroodha Swami Math, told ANI that leaders cutting across the political divide pay regular visits to the shrine in the hope of having their wishes fulfilled.
“The leaders do not come here for personal gain or publicity. They believe that by seeking our blessings, they will succeed in whatever they have set out to achieve. They are also of the belief that our blessings will help secure their political future. The likes of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi have visited this Math. Hubli is famous all over the world as the home of the Siddharudha Swami Math. This math and the Moourusavira Math are the two most famous Lingayat shrines in Hubli and whenever any leader sets foot in the district, they make sure to take our blessings before launching their election campaigns,” he said.
Gowda added, “Swamiji (Shri Siddaroodha Swami) was born in 1813 on the day of Ramnavami. He is considered by devotees as the incarnation of god. He was born in Bidar district of Karnataka. He travelled extensively across the country and stayed with his Guru. He made Hubli his native place and started imparting his vast knowledge of the Vedas to his disciples. With time, his disciples came to consider him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva.”
Devotees from the length and breadth of the country, and not just politicians but also film stars like Kajol and her mother Nutan, have been to the shrine to seek the blessings of Siddharudh Swami.
Earlier, Gurusiddha Rajayogindra Swami of Moorusavir Math lavished praise on BJP leader Mahesh Tenginkai, who is representing the ruling party from the Hubli-Dharwad Central Assembly constituency, and extended his support to the saffron party. All members of the Lingayat community are with the BJP. Mahesh Tenginkai is a young, energetic politician who works sincerely for society. Our blessings are with him,” he added.
The North Karnataka region includes Belagavi, Bagalkot, Vijayapur, Kalaburagi, Yadgiri, Gadag, Hubli-Dharwad, Haveri, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal, Vijayanagar, and Bellary districts.
In most of these districts, the BJP will be in a direct contest with the Congress. (ANI)


Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed of ANI; only the image & headline may have been reworked by News Services Division of World News Network Inc Ltd and Palghar News and Pune News and World News


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