Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and Jagadish Shettar met the Lingayat Seers in Karnataka's Hubbali. This gesture of the grand old party comes days before the state goes for the Assembly polls on May 10.
The meeting between the Lingayat seers and Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and Jagadish Shettar was held on May 5, with less than a week to go for voting in the Assembly elections.
Shettar and his Lingayat connection
Shettar, a former chief minister, who recently joined Congress after being denied a ticket from the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Laxman Savadi, who formerly served as the deputy CM during the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government, belong to the Lingayat community which is believed to have a crucial impact on electoral outcomes in the state.
On May 1, Karnataka Congress leader MB Patil said that the double-engine government will be thrown out and expressed hope that the Lingayat community will be voting for the grand old party when the elections are held.
"The Lingayat community is coming back to Congress. Double-engine govt will be thrown out," he said.
Patil said that BJP veteran Yediyurappa is in desperation. "They are making him speak against Laxman Savadi and Jagdish Shettar and saying they betrayed and backstabbed BJP".
Lingayat votes have determined Karnataka's fate in past elections
Earlier on April 27, hitting out at both the BJP deserters, Yediyurappa said, "I call on the people not to cast a single vote for Laxman Savadi and Jagdish Shettar, as they betrayed the BJP despite being entrusted with key portfolios in the government." The Lingayat votes have traditionally been a key determinant of electoral outcomes in the state. The community has traditionally sided with the BJP and several Lingayat-dominated regions of the state are considered to be saffron strongholds.
Lingayats are largely concentrated in north Karnataka, in the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, and Gadag. They also have a considerable presence in Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur.
They also inhabit vast swathes of South Karnataka, especially Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya, in big numbers.
The 224-seat Assembly polls are slated to take place in a single phase on May 10 and results will be declared on May 13.
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