Politicians across the spectrum and from far and wide have been visiting Lingayat muths ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections of 2018. By accepting the Naga Mohan Das committee report that recommends minority religion status for the Lingayats, Chief Minister Siddharamiah has stirred up a hornet’s nest. The BJP has called it a pre-election gimmick to divide the Hindu community’s votes; the Veerashaivas are upset with the move and the Lingayats themselves are not sure exactly how it will benefit them. One of the clearest voices demanding separate minority religion status is Dr.Sivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the pontiff of the nearly 400 year old Murugha Muth at Chitradurg. On Off Centre he explains to Anuradha SenGupta how Lingayatism is different from Hinduism; why the Veerashaivas shouldn’t be upset and how minority status will help the poor in the community.