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Prominent Lingayat Seer To Contest Against Union Minister Pralhad Joshi

Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami of Shirahatti Fakkireshwar Math, a prominent Veerashaiva Lingayat seer, on Monday said he has decided to contest as an independent candidate from Dharwad segment in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Repeatedly targeting BJP’s candidate from the segment and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, he accused him of “suppressing” Veerashaiva-Lingayat and other communities, and also misusing of the Lingayat maths and causing disrespect to them to stay in power.

“I’m announcing my candidature as an independent candidate from the Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency. As you are aware the national parties have announced their candidates and people in the Dharwad constituency and nearby segments feel that both parties have entered into election fixing like match fixing,” Dingaleshwar Swami alleged.

Responding to the his decision, Mr Joshi said: “There is no reaction to Dingaleshwar Swami…Whatever he says it is blessings for me.”

The seer also accused Congress of neglecting Lingayats after coming to power, and not giving suitable positions to leaders of calibre from the community.

Speaking to reporters here, he accused both national parties of having betrayed the people of the Dharwad constituency.

“While the two parties have fielded their candidates, voters of Dharwad have decided to field me as their candidate. This is a ‘Dharma Yuddha’ declared by those who value their dignity and ‘Kaavidhaaris’, against two national parties and selfish politicians,” the Swami said, adding, he is entering politics to create political awareness among people.

“There should be no politics in ‘Dharma’ and there should be ‘Dharma’ in politics — is the desire of the people, and I will continue this even after the polls,” he said, adding that his “Dharma Yuddha” will continue till the end of his life in favour of oppressed communities and their leaders.

A few seers in the Dharwad region, especially those from Lingayat community, met in Hubballi on March 27 under the leadership of Dingaleshwar Swami and asked BJP central leadership to change the party’s Dharwad Lok Sabha candidate Prahlad Joshi. They had given the party time till March 31 to decide.

At that meeting it was decided that “like in the north”, Swamijis in the south too should work in the political field and contest elections.

Lingayats are said to be the majority among voters in the Dharwad segment, while Joshi, a four-time MP, is a Brahmin.

Targeting Mr Joshi, the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, the seer alleged on Monday: “In oppressing leaders from other communities, Joshi is a hero, but when it comes to development, he is zero, and this is among the reasons for me to contest the election.”

He asked as to what Mr Joshi has done during his 20 years tenure as MP, to the constituency and the state.

Mr Joshi on his part has been maintaining that he will consider the seer’s comments as a blessing and will try to clarify the misunderstandings, if any, in the days ahead, while veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa, a Lingayat stalwart, has categorically said there is no question of replacing Mr Joshi.

To a question about his well wishers and supporters targeting the seer, Mr Joshi said: “I have no comments, social media is an open platform and people there comment in our favour, also against us. I’m a party candidate, I will not comment on such things.” Karnataka goes to Lok Sabha polls in two phases and voting will be held for Dharwad in the second phase on May 7.

Claiming that BJP did not give tickets to various communities like Kuruba, Reddy, Ambigas and Lambanis, the Swami pointed out that veteran BJP leader K S Eshwarappa’s son K E Kantesh too was denied ticket from Haveri, and he was “betrayed”. “I had warned Eshwarappa not to trust Joshi.”

He alleged that BJP denied opportunity to leaders from several big communities to contest, but has given three tickets to those from the community that has very less population (Brahmins — Pralhad Joshi, Tejasvi Surya -Bangalore South, and Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri-Uttara Kannada), and asked: “where is social justice?”

However, claiming that he was not anti-Brahmin, he also said that several people from Mr Joshi’s community have contacted him, extending their support.

Get the latest news updates and stay informed with FELA NEWS!

(Source: NDTV)

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