Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his floral tributes to the Lingayat philosopher Bhagwan Basaveshwara in London. The event was organized by The Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organization in Britain. The Basaveshwara Foundation had installed the statue of the Kannada saint in Britain which was unveiled by PM Modi on his earlier visit to London in 2015. The Lingayat community, which has an estimated 17% presence in Karnataka, is a follower of the teachings of Bhagwan Basaveshwara. He was the founder/reviver of the modern day Lingayat community. Bhagwan Basaveshwara preached gender equality, democratic ideals and was against the caste system.
The statue of the 12th century saint Bhagwan Basaveshwara stands at the Albert Embankment Gardens on the banks of the Thames River. It was also the first conceptual statue approved by the British Cabinet in the immediate surroundings of the British Parliament. The approval by the British Cabinet was a mark of respect to Bhagwan Basaveshwara who was ahead of his time in many respects.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 18, 2018
This move by PM Modi to honour the saint on his London visit could be a masterstroke for the upcoming Karnataka Elections. This simple act will go a long way in announcing to the Lingayat community that BJP is firmly behind them. This move is in stark contrast to the stance of the Siddaramaiah led Congress Party government in the state of Karnataka. The incumbent Siddaramaiah government had decided to declare Lingayats as a religious minority in March 2018. This decision was taken in order to woo the 17% voter base of the Lingayats in Karnataka. This move by the Congress Party of Karnataka was widely criticised all throughout the country. It has often been said that caste and appeasement politics of the Congress party knows no limit and it was proven correct when Siddaramaiah took this decision.
This very divisive decision was taken by the Congress party to get an edge over the BJP before the upcoming elections. Congress party and its leaders showed their depth of depravity in order to stay in power.
PM Modi on his Britain visit has brilliantly countered this move by the Congress party. His Britain journey is the second leg of his Europe visit but he has not let the upcoming elections slip from his mind. The message is loud and clear, the BJP and its allies have always respected saint Basaveshwara and its followers.
BJP will always stand in solidarity with the Lingayat community as they always have in the past. This simple move has appropriately countered the intentions of the Congress party to make a dent mark in the Lingayat voter base of BJP. The Lingayats have always been considered to be the supporters and traditional voter base of the BJP in Karnataka. PM Modi understands and is addressing the need to keep his trusted voters on his side before the start of the polls in Karnataka.
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