Defeating Pralhad Joshi is the goal, says Lingayat seer Dingaleshwara Swami announcing candidature from Dharwad

Gadag Sirahatti-Balehosur Mutt Pontiff Dingaleshwara Swami declared on Monday, 8 April, that he will contest as an independent candidate from the Dharwad constituency.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 08, 2024 | 2:50 PM Updated Apr 08, 2024 | 2:59 PM

Dingaleshwar Swami to contest from Dharwad.

In what comes as a setback to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its candidate Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, a prominent Lingayat seer has emerged as a challenger in the Dharwad Lok Sabha seat.

Gadag Sirahatti-Balehosur Mutt Pontiff Dingaleshwara Swami declared on Monday, 8 April, that he will contest as an independent candidate from the Dharwad constituency in the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The pontiff made the decision supposedly opposing the candidature of incumbent MP and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi in the constituency.

“I am not speaking for myself. This is, instead, the voice of people deeply pained by Pralhad Joshi’s candidature. Even senior Lingayat leader like Jagadish Shettar was ill-treated. Lingayats were meted out injustice in the assembly polls,” Dingaleshwara Swami said in a press conference on Monday.

He declared that his main goal was to ensure the defeat of Pralhad Joshi.

Meanwhile, responding to the pontiff’s candidature Joshi said that he had already said whatever he had to say.

“I don’t want to speak more about it. The people will vote after analysing the performance of Modi in the last 10 years. And whatever swamiji said about me, I’m considering it as a blessing,” Joshi told reporters.

In Dharwad, the Congress announced a ticket for Vinod Asooti, whereas Joshi is the BJP candidate.

South First had previously reported that the state unit of BJP has recommended against fielding Joshi in Dharwad. In its report to the central leadership of BJP, the state unit had pitched Shankar Patil Munenakoppa or Jagadish Shettar instead of Joshi in Dharwad.

Also Read: In Dharwad, Pralhad Joshi has a saffron-clad rival

The decision

Around 120 pontiffs and seers of various mutts had convened a Chintan Manthan meeting at Moorusaviramutt in Hubballi City recently. In the meeting, the pontiffs said to have appealed to Dingaleshwara Swami to contest from Dharwad.

Meanwhile, Joshi had said on 28 March, that he was ready to apologise if there was any wrongdoings on his part.

Considering over 5 lakh voters from the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community in Dharwad, the seers and pontiffs asked Dingaleshwara Swami to contest.

“The new development came after several leaders reportedly made accusations against Joshi of suppressing Veerashaiva-Lingayats and other community leaders for political gains,” added sources.

Meanwhile, the pontiffs and seers of the various mutts from the dominant community in North Karnataka had demanded that BJP leadership replace Pralhad Joshi from the Dharwad seat.

Following their demand, BJP parliamentary board member and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa made it clear that it was impossible to replace Joshi from Dharwad.

Upset over Yediyurappa’s response, Dingaleshwar Swami launched a scathing attack on Joshi threatening to ensure his defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. Now, he has declared his candidature.

Also Read: Lok Sabha polls 2024 is ‘do or be doomed’ for BY Vijayendra in Karnataka

‘Not against any political party’

However, Dingsleshwar Swami had said that he was not against any political party but only Joshi.

“We oppose Joshi’s candidacy because he has systematically suppressed the majority communities in terms of political, economic and business. There is a kind of dreadful environment in Dharwad,” said Dingaleshwar Swami.

“People from various communities, mainly Veerashaiva-Lingayats, Dalits, Kurubas and other communities have suffered due to the politics of Joshi. The Veerashaiva-Lingayat alone has around 5 lakh votes. We are not against any communities or party but against Joshi,” claimed the pontiff.

It may be noted that Joshi has been representing the Dharwad seat for four consecutive terms and is hoping for the fifth term in the same seat.

Continuing his tirade against Joshi, Dinagaleshwar Swami pointed out: “In his over two-decade-long political career, Joshi has suppressed several people, irrespective of their region and caste. The anger against Joshi is so much that his party men want or pray for his defeat.”

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)