Bengaluru, Mar 28: The seer of Chitradurga Mutt wrote a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and said Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s move to provide separate religion status to Lingayat will unite Hindus. This came a day after Shah hit out at Siddaramaiah accusing him of dividing Hindus by his Lingayat move, which, political analysts say, will benefit the Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.

“Minority status to this religion will deliver some benefits to youth of community-individually and collectively. It is not a step to divide community but measure to unite divided sub-castes of Lingayats,” Seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru said in his letter to Amit Shah. The BJP chief has been targeting Siddaramaiah for his move to accord the religious minority tag to Lingayats.

“On one hand, Congress president speaks about uniting Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, while on the other hand in Karnataka, its own chief minister is speaking about dividing Hindus. I have not seen such a sharp difference within a political party,” Shah said on Tuesday. “The minority status to the Lingayats is only an election stunt enacted by the ruling Congress to appease the community’s voters,” he added.

On March 23, the state government had notified the minority religion status to the followers of 12th-century social reformer Basava, amid protests by few communities, in a bid to woo the dominant community of Lingayats (17 per cent), ahead of the state polls. The BJP, whose Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, saw the Congress move as an attempt to divide the Hindu votes.

On Monday, Shah sought blessings of 110-year-old Lingayat seer Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga Mutt. His visit to the Mutt is seen by political observers as an attempt to ensure the dominant Lingayats back his party. Karnataka will go for polls on May 12, while the results will be announced on May 15.