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Demand for Lingayat development corporation

Varied responses to govt. announcement on welfare panel for Marathas

The State government’s announcement that it would start the Karnataka State Maratha Development Corporation was met with different responses on Monday.

Members of the Karnataka Maratha Kshatriya Sangha celebrated the decision by bursting crackers and distributing sweets at the Rani Channamma Circle.

Anil Benake, BJP MLA and Sangha leader, said that this would help members of the community to get scholarships for students and funds for entrepreneurs. He said that the State government would go all the way to help the poor among the Maratha community to develop and prosper.

BJP leader Kiran Jadhav hoped the decision would help the Maratha community better integrate into the mainstream.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who welcomed the decision, demanded a similar development corporation for Lingayats.

“We urgently need a Veerashaiva/Lingayat development corporation to ensure the all-round development of Lingayats. I have made similar requests in the past. I am sure Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will accept the demand now,’’ he said in a video message to his followers.

‘Appeasement’

Some Kannada organisations have opposed the decision though. Deepak Gudanatti, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike leader, accused the government of appeasing Marathas for their votes. He alleged the government was resorting to politicking in the name of community development just to gain an upper hand in the bypolls for the Belagavi Lok Sabha and the Basavakalyan Assembly seats.

Ashok Chandaragi, convenor of the action committee of Kannada organisations, says he is not opposed to the idea, but he was suspicious of the government’s intention as it was “badly timed”. “Everybody knows that the government is doing it only to improve its poll prospects. There is no doubt about that. But we need the government to be equally generous about the cause of Kannada. The post of Border Development Commission chairman has not been filled for two years. North Karnataka districts suffered flood damage but have not been compensated. The Department of Kannada and Culture has several pending projects in the border districts, it has virtually stopped releasing funds to cultural organisations. All these should start functioning as earlier. The government should treat all communities equally,” he said.

Maloji Ashtekar, Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti leader, said the party was not particularly happy about the decision as it had been fighting for the cause of the Marathi speaking people and not any specific caste group. He also said such announcements do not stop the MES from demanding merger of Belagavi and other border areas with Maharashtra.

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