Mysuru, Mar 30 (PTI) Continuing BJP’s bid to reach out to the prominent Lingayat community, party national president Amit Shah today began his fourth leg of Karnataka visit with a visit to the community prominent pontiff at Suttur Mutt here.

“Took blessings of Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji of Sri Suttur Math in Mysuru,” Shah tweeted after his meeting with the seer, who, he noted, had made significant efforts towards spreading the values of Indian culture and tradition worldwide.

Shah also said he admired the math’s role in providing education to the poor in rural Karnataka.

He has already covered parts of coastal and Malnad, north, and central regions of the state.

The BJP president had begun his third leg of tour on March 26 by seeking blessings of 111-year old Sri Shivakumara Swami of Siddhaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, a revered seer of the Lingayat community.

The meeting with the Lingayat seers is being seen as an attempt to reach out to the Lingayats/Veeshaivas, who are numerically and politically powerful in the state and form a major voter base for the BJP.

The visit assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of the Siddaramaiah government’s move to recommend to the Centre to accord a religious minority tag to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats in an attempt to wean away a section of them from the BJP.

A prominent Lingayat seer had early this week commended the Siddaramaiah government’s decision to recommend grant of religious minority tag to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats, in an embarrassment to Shah, who had termed it as an attempt to ‘divide’ the Hindu community.

The Seer of Murugha mutt, Dr Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, had backed the government move in a memorandum submitted to Shah at Chitradurga, seeking the Centre’s approval for the religious minority tag.

Besides visiting maths associated with Lingayats, Shah is also connecting with Dalit communities.

He had visited pontiff of Madara Chennaiah mutt, which has been traditionally associated with Dalits, in his third round of visit.

The BJP is making an all-out effort to unseat the Congress from the only big state where the grand old party is in power.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.