Amid Covid & cabinet pangs, K’taka CM Bommai faces reservation challenge

Bengaluru:- At a time when Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is trying to tackle rebellion after the cabinet formation along with the Covid management, another challenge has emerged. Panchamasali seer Basava Jaya Mruthyunjaya swamiji has set a deadline for the state government to provide OBC reservation to the community.

Jaya Mruthyunjaya swamiji warned on Thursday that if the demand is not met, he would begin a protest at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru from October 1. The responsibility of convincing the government on the issue has been given to PWD minister C.C. Patil.

“Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had assured in the Assembly session that the demand will be considered in 6 months time. As promised the government must act by September 15. Bommai, who was in charge of the home ministry then had given all cooperation. Now, he is the Chief Minister and he should grant the facility to the community,” the Swamiji demanded.

‘Panchamasali Pratigya Panchayat’ programme has been organized to create awareness among the people on reservation across the state. The campaign will kickstart from MM Hills on August 26 and a rally from here to Bengaluru will be take out, Swamiji said.

Swamiji is demanding reservation under 2A category which provides reservation for Other Backward Communities (OBC) for Panchamasali sub sect of the Lingayat community. With the Centre restoring the power of states to make their own list of OBCs, the state should act and fulfill the demand, he noted.

When Yediyurappa was the chief minister, a huge 446- kilometer protest rally was taken out from Kudalasangama to Bengaluru demanding reservation for Panchamasali sub caste in February. The rally was also used by the opponents of Yediurappa to project that the biggest sub sect in the Lingayat community wa at loggerheads with him.

Arvind Bellad, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and Murugesh Nirani, all chief minister aspirants who lobbied heavily and failed to get the coveted post hail from the Panchamasali sub sect. The community claims to have a population of about 80 lakh in the state.