The allegation that the BJP government is taking 30 per cent cuts from the grants released for religious institutions has taken a political turn in Karnataka. It has also resulted in a war of words between the prominent Lingayat seers of the state.
Dingaleshwara Swamiji had stated that the ruling BJP not only takes commission from contractors, it even takes 30 per cent commission from religious seers. Reacting to this statement on Tuesday, Siddalinga Swamiji of Andola Mutt stated that the corruption and 30 per cent commission arrangement has been there since the days of the Congress rule when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister.
"During the time of Siddaramaiah government also religious institutions had to give 30 per cent cuts in grants. Many seers have pledged their properties to get the grant amount by paying off commission. They have paid bribes to ministers and officers. It is true that politicians receive bribes. I was about to open up about this development and many seers have prevented me from talking about it," Andola Mutt seer said.
"There should be a thorough investigation on this matter. It will bring out the truth, he demanded. Successive governments in the state have been releasing grants for religious mutts to help their philanthropic and service activities. The grants were generously given when former CM B.S. Yediyurappa assumed power."
Dingaleshwara Swamiji had earlier stated that the religious mutts will have to pay 30 per cent cuts to get the funds released and projects of mutts will take off. "The officers directly tell us about the commission. If an ice cream is granted in New Delhi or Bengaluru, by the time it reaches north Karnataka, only the stick of the ice cream will remain," he had commented.
Opposition party Congress has launched a high voltage attack on the BJP. Executive Presidents of Congress, Satish Jarkiholi and Eshwar Khandre, have slammed the ruling BJP that it is a crime that commission is taken on the funds released to religious mutts also. Corruption does not have caste and religion. "BJP is using caste and religion to its advantage," stated Eshwar Khandre.
Minister for Agriculture B.C. Patil had stated, "Before giving the bribe, the swamiji should have protested. He is talking like a Congress worker."
The statements by both the seers, one supporting the Congress and another supporting the ruling BJP has created a stir in the political corridors of the state. With the Assembly elections scheduled in 2023, the fight between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress will intensify, say sources.