By M K Ashoka
Bengaluru, Mar 25 (IANS) The Karnataka BJP camp is hoping to boost its prospects by playing the reservation card ahead of the assembly polls in the state. Analysts say that the saffron party's attempt at creating goodwill by increasing the quota of the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities, the two major groups, has been successful.
The Panchamasali sub-sect which had chosen the path of agitation and threatened to dent the Lingayat vote bank for the BJP seems to have settled down with the announcement.
Panchamasali pontiff Vachananda Swamiji stated that the agitation for reservation by the community has been successful in the first phase. However, the mutt is ready to take up the agitation again to get reservation for the last man of the Panchamasali sub-sect.
The proposal to include the Panchamasalis in the OBC list of the Central government is before the Chief Secretary. The Centre has sought the opinion of the state government. "The agitation will continue on that front as well," he said.
Basavajaya Mrutunjaya Swamiji, who spearheaded the agitation for reservation for the Panchamasalis, said that he will discuss the increase in quota for the Lingayats to 7 per cent and later give his reaction.
The ruling BJP has suffered a series of setbacks ahead of the polls. Keeping the Panchamasali votes in the Lingayat community was a major concern. The pontiffs have clearly stated that they will support the political parties which help them to get reservation. Former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa and present CM Bommai failed to fulfil their promises and the community was perceived to be angry with the saffron party.
On the other hand, the BJP faced a challenge as many leaders had quit the party to join the Congress. With the attempt to woo the Vokkaligas with the theory of Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda killing erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan falling flat, the BJP needed a booster dose.
The reservation quotas for the Vokkaligas and the Lingayats have been increased from 4 per cent to 6 per cent and five percent to 7 per cent respectively. The Vokkaligas will get 6 per cent reservation under 2C and the Lingayats will get 7 per cent reservation under 2D categories.
The 4 per cent quota reserved for Muslims under the OBC quota has been allocated to 2D and 2C categories.
The Vokkaliga community which was given 4 per cent reservation under 3A Category has been given 2 per cent more reservation under 2C category. The Lingayats were given 5 per cent reservation under the 3B category before, they will now get 7 per cent under the new 2D quota.
The ruling BJP had recommended inclusion of a rise in the reservation quota from 18 per cent to 24 per cent to Scheduled Castes in Schedule 9 of the Constitution. The saffron party has taken a big decision to give reservation to 101 sub-castes under the SC category as per the number of population. The BJP has fulfilled a three decade long demand.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, Karnataka in-charge of the Congress, stated that the BJP is adopting a strategy to hoodwink the reserved communities in the state ahead of the polls.
The BJP is eyeing a win in a majority of the 36 seats reserved for SCs and 15 for STs in the state. With Mallikarjun Kharge from the state getting elected as the president of the All India Congress Committee, the Dalit and the oppressed classes are being attracted towards the Congress. However, the BJP is treading carefully on the issue.