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In a Reversal of Roles, Seers Chase Netas For Assembly Tickets in Karnataka

The desire to enter the politics is not restricted only to Brahmin seers. Madara Channaiah Swamy, a seer of the Dalits, has been lobbying for the BJP ticket from Holalkere (Reserved) seat in Chitradurga district.

D P Satish | CNN-News18dp_satish

Updated:March 13, 2018, 8:32 AM IST
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In a Reversal of Roles, Seers Chase Netas For Assembly Tickets in Karnataka
Lakshmivara Theertha Swamy of Shirur Mutt, one of the eight seers at the ancient Sri Krishna Mutt in Udupi, has decided to contest elections. (Photo: Sri Shiroor Mutt, Udupi)
Bengaluru: In caste-ridden Karnataka politics, netas running behind religious leaders is a common sight during elections. But this poll season, the seers are chasing netas for party tickets.

After Yogi Adityanath ascended the throne of chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, many holy men in Karnataka are also dreaming of shifting from spiritual to temporal power.

Lakshmivara Theertha Swamy of Shirur Mutt, one of the eight seers at the ancient Sri Krishna Mutt in Udupi, has decided to take the plunge into politics. He has already announced that he would be contesting as an Independent candidate if the BJP does not give him ticket from Udupi. The former BJP MLA from Udupi, Raghupathi Bhat, is opposing his candidature.

The seer has been a controversial figure and not really known for strictly following the life of an ascetic. The remaining seven seers of Udupi Mutt, including L K Advani and Uma Bharti’s spiritual guru Vishesha Theertha Swamy, have expressed shock over his decision to enter the poll arena. However, the unfazed seer has strongly defended the decision.

Speaking to News18, he said, “Why can’t seers contest elections? There is no bar. We can serve the people better.”

Explaining what has prompted him to try his luck as an Independent, he said, “The BJP is good in Bengaluru and Delhi, but not as good in Udupi. If they give me ticket, I will contest on BJP ticket. If they don’t, then I will contest as an independent candidate.”

The sitting MLA of Udupi and sports and youth affairs minister, Pramod Madhvaraj said that he was surprised over the decision of the seer.

Seventy kilometers south of Udupi another seer is also lobbying for a BJP ticket this time. Rajashekharananda Swamy of Vajradehi Mutt near Mangalore has also expressed his desire to contest in the upcoming elections from Mangalore North.

Speaking to News18, he said that there was nothing wrong in monks wearing saffron robes and aspiring to be khadi-clad politicians.

The desire to enter the politics is not restricted only to Brahmin seers. Madara Channaiah Swamy, a seer of the Dalits, has been lobbying for the BJP ticket from Holalkere (Reserved) seat in Chitradurga district. He has already identified himself with the BJP and claims that he will end the reign of social welfare minister H Anjaneya in Chitradurga district. He had played a big role in organising BJP president Amit Shah’s mega public meeting in Holalkere two months ago.

Basavananda Swamy, a Lingayat seer from Dharwad district, wants to contest on BJP ticket in Kalaghatagi Assembly seat near Dharwar. He wants to take on Congress MLA and cabinet minister Santosh Lad.

Not all seers want to use the BJP route to enter the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. Paramananda Ramarudha Swamy from Bilagi in Bagalkote district is trying for the JDS ticket from Bilagi seat. He wants to take on the BJP strongman and former minister Murugesh Nirani.

Even the Congress has a seer who wants to try his luck on the hand symbol. Another Lingayat seer Prabhu Channabasava Swamy of Motagi Mutt in Belgaum district has demanded the Congress ticket from Athani seat. He wants to take on BJP MLA and former minister Lakshman Savadi.

Commenting on the seers vying for the party ticket, BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa said that party high command would take a call.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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