Secret efforts to establish a third Panchamasali platform


Seems to be the result of movement for reservation under category 2A in the OBC list

While the Lingayat-Panchamasali movement for category 2A reservation in the OBC list in Karnataka has yet to achieve its goal, a few community leaders have started covert efforts to establish a separate platform, as an alternative to two existing peethas (seat of religious knowledge) of the community.

About 30 psychics from various pooches in the Panchamasali community recently met at the residence of a community member in Jamakhandi in the Bagalkot district to develop a plan.

Prior to that, a preliminary meeting had been held at Kakamari Mutt in Athani taluk of Belagavi district where the idea had been brought up. Seers, who attended the preliminary meeting, reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the functioning of existing peethas and stressed the need for a separate platform as an alternative.

Embarrassment at BJP

The root cause of the development appears to be the embarrassment caused to the leaders of the Lingayat Panchamasali community in the government led by the BJP.

Earlier in February 2021, despite calls from prominent ministers and community leaders, the “Panchamasali Padayatra” seeking a 2A reservation for the community did not stop until after reaching Bengaluru. Some believe the BJP’s anti-BS Yediyurappa faction played a role in keeping the emotional issue alive and in the limelight.

Panchamasali members arrive in Bengaluru as part of a padayatra which started in Vijayapura demanding the inclusion of the community in Category 2A, in February 2021.

Panchamasali members arrive in Bengaluru as part of a padayatra that started in Vijayapura demanding inclusion of the community in Category 2A, in February 2021. | Photo credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

The community of Panchamasali has two peethas in the state: one in Koodalasangama in Bagalkot district in northern Karnataka and the other in Harihar in Davanagere district in central Karnataka. Since the day of their creation, these peethas have not agreed on various issues. However, during the “Panchamasali Movement” in February 2021, the leaders of these two peethas came together to bury their differences to continue the reservation request.

The movement has put the provision to power in an awkward position with BJP MP Basanagouda Patil Yatnal taking on Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa head-on in the House prosecution. Despite appeals from Panchamasali ministers, unrest continued even after reaching Bengaluru. The unrest was only put to rest after the matter was referred to the Karnataka Backward Class Commission.

The minister’s hand?

According to reliable sources, all these developments forced one of the ministers, who had drawn the wrath of the community during the movement to request a reserve, to embark on the creation of a platform to feed his political aspirations. The presence of this minister’s brother at the seers’ meetings in Jamakhandi and Kakamari Mutt only reinforced this line of thought.

However, given the sensitivity of the issue, political leaders and clairvoyants refrained from commenting on developments.

Sri Basavajaya Mrutyunjaya Swami of Panchamasali Peetha, said Koodalasangama The Hindu, “I am not aware of the two meetings, and this peetha has nothing to do with the outcome of the meetings. But I will continue to fight for our 2A reservation request.

Meanwhile, there is speculation about the others who helped make the two meetings happen. The meeting participants included Siddhalinga Swami from Shivanand Mutt from Nelogi, Mahadev Swami from Babaleshwar and Sanganabasava Swami from Managuli. Seers from the Veerashaiva Mutts branches of Rambhapuri Peetha, who aligned with the BJP during the controversy sparked by Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s proposal for a separate religion status for the Lingayat community, also attended the meetings.

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