Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat Forum backs Congress, issues official letter

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The Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat forum has announced its support for the Congress party in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. The forum has issued an official letter extending its support to Congress, which is seen as a major boost for the party in the crucial Lingayat-dominated regions of the state.

On May 5, Congress leader and prominent Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar met with seers of the community in Hubbali to seek their support for the party. Shettar, a former chief minister who recently joined Congress after being denied a ticket from the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Laxman Savadi, who formerly served as the deputy CM during the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government, belong to the Lingayat community which is believed to have a crucial impact on electoral outcomes in the state.

The Lingayat votes have traditionally been a key determinant of electoral outcomes in the state. The community has traditionally sided with the BJP, and several Lingayat-dominated regions of the state are considered to be saffron strongholds. However, with the Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat forum extending its support to Congress, the political dynamics in the state could undergo a significant shift.

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Lingayats are largely concentrated in north Karnataka, in the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, and Gadag. They also have a considerable presence in Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Bidar and Raichur. They inhabit vast swathes of South Karnataka, especially Bangalore, Mysore, and Mandya, in big numbers. The community is seen as a key demographic in the state, with their voting preferences often swaying election results.

The 224-seat Assembly polls are slated to take place in a single phase on May 10, and the results will be declared on May 13. The Congress party is hoping to make significant gains in Lingayat-dominated regions, and the support of the Veerashaiva Lingayat forum is expected to be a major factor in this regard.

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( With inputs from )

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