Niranjanandapuri Swami of Kaginele Mutt called upon all legislators from the Kuruba community to resign if the State and Union governments fail to accord Scheduled Tribe status to the Kuruba community.
He was speaking at a rally organised by Kuruba organisations seeking ST tag in Bagalkot on Sunday. Saying that the State government had to send a proposal to the Centre, he urged the Centre to approve the proposal as soon as possible. He said the community would hold a large rally in Bengaluru and submit a memorandum to the government on February 7.
Siddaramanandapuri Swami of Tinthani Mutt raised the issue of delay in giving Cabinet berths to legislators from the Kuruba community who had defected to the BJP from the Congress and the JD(S). He said the BJP had come to power in Karnataka because of the sacrifice made by leaders of the Kuruba community, but leaders of other communities were reaping the benefits. “The Yediyurappa government is acting like it is focused only on one community. That is unfortunate. Every community should be treated equally,” he said.
N. Nagaraj (MTB), MLC, said Mr. Yediyurappa had assured them that they would be inducted into the Cabinet very soon. “We believe him. We will wait and see,” he said. He denied that the meeting of defectors held in Bengaluru recently was against any leader.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa said the rally was not political. “I believe that Kurubas are Hindus and they should stay Hindus. That is why I am here,” he said. He said this was a rally for people from the Belagavi revenue division. “We will hold rallies in other divisions too.”
He told journalists that he had invited Congress leader Siddaramaiah to attend the Bagalkot rally. “I must have called him 10 times. Each time he says he will come, but he does not. What can I do? Can I drag him to the rally?” he asked. He denied claims that he was organising the rallies to try and promote his son K.E. Kantesh as a leader of the Kuruba community. “These are lies. Don’t believe them. I don’t use my community for political reasons.”