The Karnataka Assembly election is expected to be held in 2023. Meanwhile, two dominant castes in Karnataka – Lingayats and Vokkaligas – have made reservation a poll agenda.
In news: Veerashaiva Lingayats are expected to hold a convention and the Vokkaligas are expected to hold a protest demanding reservation for themselves.
What will the Lingayats do?
The All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha will hold a massive three-day convention in Karnataka's Davanagere on 23 December 2022. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend this event.
Unite all 104 sub-castes of the Veerashaiva Lingayat caste in the state.
Include all sub-sects under central OBC list and grant them 27 percent reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
"The Panchamashalis who are said to be socially backward among other Lingayat sects, are demanding that they be listed under 2A OBC. As of now, they come under the 3B category with 5 percent reservation. We have no opposition to this demand and have also invited them to the convention."All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha's BS Sachidananda Murthy told The Quint
What will the Vokkaligas do?
The Vokkaligas will hold a massive protest rally on 23 January 2022.
Include all 115 Vokkaliga sub-castes in the OBC list and increase reservation from 4 to 12 percent.
Make a block quota within the 10 percent reservation made for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to help poor Vokkaligas.
"We have the support of pontiffs of Adichunchanagiri Mutt, Spatikapuri Mutt and Vishva Vokkaliga Mahasmsthana Mutt. The fact that these religious heads of the community are backing us, means that we will be able to achieve political success."CN Balakrishna of Vokkaligara Sangha told The Quint
How does this make reservation a key agenda for 2023 polls?
Leaders of different political parties including Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, and JD(S) are invited to the events and are expected to participate. Meaning, they are likely to back at least some of the demands of these castes.
Politicians backing Lingayat convention:
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, former Chief Ministers BS Yediyurappa and Jadagish Shettar, and Murugesh Nirani of the BJP.
Congress leaders Eshwar Khandre and Shamanur Shivashankarappa are part of the organising team of the convention. Other leaders including MB Patil, HK Patil, and SR Patil have extended support.
Leaders backing Vokkaliga protest:
JD(S) MLAs and members of former PM HD Devegowda's family.
The protest also has the support of both BJP and Congress leaders like R Ashok, DV Sadananda Gowda, K Sudhakar, and DK Shivakumar.
What are political watchers saying about the events?
Political analyst SM Jamdar told The Quint:
"I am not against any of the two events. But, looking at the timing of it, these two conventions are being backed with an aim of consolidating vote bank. So, it well established that reservation will be one of the key factors in the upcoming elections."
The big picture: The Lingayats, who form 17 percent of the state's population, have traditionally supported the BJP, while the Vokkaligas, who are 14 percent of the population, have always supported either JD(S) or the Congress.
However, this political equation is likely to evolve if the coming elections were to be fought over reservations, with voters swinging in favour of those offering the best deal.
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