The Congress’ election manifesto for Karnataka, where Assembly polls are due this year, will not mention the Lingayat community’s demand for a separate religious minority tag, Chairman of the Election Manifesto Committee M Veerappa Moily said on Sunday, according to The New Indian Express.
Moily said the proposed Congress Manifesto 2018 will cover several socio-economic and political subjects, but will not make promises to any community as the party is secular.
The Lingayats in Karnataka are classified as Other Backward Classes. As the single-largest community in the state, their vote is believed to be decisive in 110 of the 224 Assembly constituencies.
In November, the Lingayat Mahasabha asked the Karnataka government to write to the Centre by December 30 and recommend that the community be given minority status. The Karnataka State Minorities Commission had formed a seven-member panel to study the demand and submit a report in four weeks, which means a decision on their status could be made before the polls.
On Sunday, Moily and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Working President SR Patil steered clear of the matter and said the party had little to do with the committee studying the Lingayat demand. Moily said the Congress manifesto will focus on the party’s achievements in its current term and its assurances for the next five years, The Hindu reported.
The Congress leader also blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for communal tension in the coastal districts, saying that people know who was dividing society and who stood for development.