New Delhi: BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday reportedly said that the Congress leader and Home Minister MB Patil had written to the then AICC chief Sonia Gandhi on the Veerashaiva-Lingayat issue which exposes the conspiracy hatched by Congress to prevent BJP from coming to power in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa accused Sonia Gandhi of hatching a conspiracy with the local Congress leadership to divide the Lingayat community in Karnataka. He said, “What is surprising is that Sonia Gandhi is involved in this conspiracy as the letter written by Patil starts with ‘as suggested by you’, that means she herself has guided state Congress leaders on the issue.”

Yeddyurappa added, “Being the head of a national party and claiming the legacy of Nehru family, she should not have stooped to such a level because we have high regards for Nehru and his family. Though it is not new for Congress people to involve in such conspiracies.” Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the BJP in Karnataka had shared the letter allegedly written by then minister M B Patil to Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi in July 2017 its on social media. This triggered a strong reaction from the Congress which soon lodged a complaint with the CEO against the BJP state president and other leaders.

The letter, which Patil called fake, gave a roadmap to win the 2018 assembly elections by dividing Hindu society by giving separate religious minority tag for the Lingayat sect. The letter was purportedly written on the letterhead of BLDE Association whose president was shown as Patil. A newspaper too published a report based on the letter compelling the Congress to issue a clarification that letterhead of the organisation which was used for writing the letter itself was duplicate and did not exist.

Addressing a press conference, Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “The BLDE letterhead itself is fake. There are several spelling mistakes in the letterhead. There are many shortcomings in the letterhead.” He said a website had first posted it but removed it later after learning that it was fake.

Patil in 2017 was at the forefront of recommending separate religious minority tag for the Lingayat sect, founded by social reformer Basaveshwara in 12th Century AD. Later, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in January passed a resolution recommending the Centre to grant religious minority tag for the Lingayats. In December 2018, the Centre told the Karnataka High Court that it has communicated to the State government that it cannot accept the proposal, stating that the Lingayats were treated as Hindus since the first census in 1871.

(With agency inputs)