The heat is on Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa with a section of his own community demanding that he quit his post if he is powerless to care for the community.
A sub-sect of the Lingayat community, the Panchamshalis who form almost 70 per cent of the Lingayats, is demanding reservation under the 2A category, which could give them access to nearly 15 per cent quota in education and jobs. Currently, Panchamshalis are in the 3B category, which has only a five per cent reservation.
Seers are on a padayatra for the last few days from the holy place of Kudalasangama to Bengaluru demanding the quota.
What irked the seers is the reply of the Chief Minister in the legislature Assembly on Friday that this was not in his hands and it was under the purview of the central government.
The seers upped the pressure on the CM, calling for his resignation if he was incapable of serving the needs of his own community. They said he must make way for some other efficient Lingaayt leader to head the State.
Lingayats form the BJPs major vote bank in Karnataka.
Panchamshali seer Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swami said that, “It's enough that the Centre supports BSY as the Chief Minister. Let the PM or Amit Shah or Nadda give him an honourable exit and place some other able Lingayat as the CM. Today our protest is changing... Our demand is either you give Panchamshalis the reservation or you give your resignation.”
“Amit Shah is not our CM, nor is Modi nor is Nadda. BSY is the CM here and the State has the full powers to bring in the reservation to protect communities. He is passing the buck to the Centre, he is saying he will take MPs to go and talk to them. We doubt now whether he has read the Constitution at all. He has lost our trust. He has been the CM for three times, he must know he has powers on this. Otherwise let him make way for another mass Lingayat leader as CM,” the seer added.
The Panchamshali sub-sect has been on a padayatra for the last three weeks now covering over 250 kms, with hundreds of supporters joining them along the way. They are expected to reach Bengaluru by February 15.
As part of their agitation, the protestors burnt tyres on the Bengaluru-Chitradurga highway on Friday.