BANGALORE: Vokkaligas appear to be an anguished lot. D V Sadananda Gowda has gone, but Vokkaligas who have been left irked following his removal from the chief minister's post want take the issue to a logical end by continuing their protests and agitation.
This is not the first time that VoKkaligas are on roads and they are not the only social group which is agitated . Lingayats, Kurubas and dalits on occasions have protested whenever leaders of their community were either sidelined or denied due share in the power.
Even when Janata Dal came to power in 1994 defeating Congress Vokkaligas came on roads when they came to know that their community strongman H D Devegowda's appointment to the post is unnecessarily being delayed by Ramakrishna Hegde and his men.
Vokkaliga youth who stormed Vidhana Soudha even threw chappals at Hegde forcing him to hasten the election of Devegowda as the leader of the Janata Dal legislature party which had won (115 seats) a slender majority in the assembly. In this election Congress tasted the defeat badly by winning only 36 seats behind BJP which for the first time emerged as the official opposition group in Karnataka assembly. This was the lowest number of seats ever won by Congress in the assembly.
Then situation turned so volatile in Bangalore that thousands of Vokkaligas who stormed the roads leading to Vidhana Soudha and Vidhan Soudha itself turned violent in addition to attacking JD leaders including Ramakrishna Hegde. Protestors heckled and tore the shirts of many JD leaders when they came out of a JDLP meeting summoned to elect a leader.
Immediately after 2004 elections, even Kurubas from all over the state came to Bangalore and protested demanding chief minister's post to their community strongman Siddaramaiah.
But this time Vokkaliga leaders seems to have turned intelligent enough to give a ideological touch to their protests and agitation. ""Though initially our protests and agitation were against BJP leaders who decided to remove Sadananda Gowda , now we want to take these protests to a logical end"" says Nanjavadhootha swamiji who is spearheading the agitation on behalf of his community obviously trying to make look the agitation as a demand for the chief minister's post to a dalit.
Talking to TOI seer said now Sadananda Gowda has gone, but Vokkaligas want to take their agitation to new heights by demanding chief minister's post to a dalit. "" Neither we are against Lingayats nor against BJP, our only demand is why a chance should not be given to a dalit to head the state"" he argued reiterating his demand of a dalit as chief minister.
Even Swamiji tried to come clear on the issue by disclosing that his demand is not restricted to BJP. This demand will be placed before the party whether JDS or Congress whichever comes to power in the next assembly elections, he added.
However only time will reveal how serious is seer and his followers in their demand of CM's post to a dalit and what their stand will be if JDS considered as a party of Vokkaligas comes to power in the state in next assembly elections.
[Courtesy: TOI, July 12, 2012]