Facing backlash over quota comment, Yediyurappa asks OBC panel to submit report on Panchamasali demand


In the House, he had said he can take a call only after consulting national leaders

Hours after his statement on reservation in the Assembly led to outrage among leaders of the agitating Panchamasali (Lingayat) community, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa took to damage-control mode.

He directed the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission to carry out a detailed study on the demand for inclusion of Panchamasalis in 2-A category of the other backward classes (OBC) list and submit a report.

Clarifying that he had only said that issue could be taken up after convincing the central leadership, he reminded the community that it was the BJP government that gave them reservation under Category 3B. “Decisions on such a critical matter cannot be taken in a hurry. This needs to be discussed with experts before any decision is taken,” he said in a statement issued on Friday night.

Earlier in the day, in the Assembly, Mr. Yediyurappa faced embarrassment when his bete noire and BJP member Basanagouda Patil Yatnal demanded his statement in the House on the ongoing agitations by the Panchamasalis seeking inclusion under 2-A category.

A visibly irked Chief Minister said he cannot make an announcement without consulting the Prime Minister and other central leaders. “We are not a regional party and I do not have the powers to take unilateral decisions,” he had said. Mr. Yatnal countered it by saying the State government had powers to make a recommendation and the Chief Minister should not evade the issue by naming the Prime Minister.

Seer expresses outrage

Later in the day, Lingayat Panchamasali Peetha head Jaya Mrityunjana Swami, who is presently leading a padayatra to Bengaluru, expressed outrage over the Chief Minister’s stand.

“After I announced that I would return the budgetary allocation to the math, the Chief Minister called me and assured me that the community would be given reservation under category 2A. He said he would take a report from the Karnataka Permanent Backward Classes Commission and take it further. But his statement in the Assembly has deeply pained us,” the seer said.

The seer demanded that the Chief Minister must resign, as he had failed to keep his word and hence had lost the support of the Panchamasali community. “There are many capable leaders among Lingayats. Let one of them be made Chief Minister,” the seer said.

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