Bengaluru, Mar 19: The Karnataka government on Monday gave its approval to the recommendation on special religion status for the Lingayat community. The decision that comes months ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 follows Justice Nagamohan Das committee report that had made the recommendation. The state Cabinet will forward its recommendation to the Centre. On Saturday, a group of Lingayat seers had met Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, requesting him to implement the committee report and accord a separate religion and community status to Lingayats. The group had even sought the status of religious minority for Lingayats. (Also read: Karnataka Cabinet Meet to Discuss Lingayat Religion Tag Deferred.) Also Read - Rare Majestic Black Panther Spotted in Karnataka's Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, Pictures Go Viral

“The fight is 900-years-old but has fructified now. We will request the Chief Minister to implement the committee report,” said Todarya Math’s Siddalinga Swami, as per Zee reports. The tussle for a separate religion tag has been on; with Veerashaivas thrown into the mix. Also Read - Karnataka Coronavirus Cases Today: Days After CM BSY's Denial, Minister Confirms Community Transmission of COVID-19 in State

While one section, led by Akhil Bharat Veerashaiva Mahasabha, demanded that both Lingayats and Veerashaivas should be clubbed together under one religion as they are one and the same, the other section has insisted that the separate religion status should be accorded only to Lingayats as Veerashaiva is one of the seven sects of Shaivas, which falls under Hinduism. So while some consider Veerashaiva to be a sub-sect of Lingayats, many of the latter community refuse to identify with the former. Also Read - Nekar Samman Yojane: Over 20000 Weavers in Karnataka to Get Annual Financial Help of Rs 2000 Through DBT | All You Need to Know

Meanwhile, the BJP has been questioning the government for raising the issue now. BJP state unit chief BS Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat himself, had alleged that the Siddharamaiah-led Congress government was taking interest now as it was concerned about the assembly elections round the corner. Lingayats are a dominant community, big in numbers and politically influential, and would have a significant role to play in the elections.

On its part, the state government held meetings earlier but the Cabinet could not reach a conclusion because of disagreement among Lingayat and Veerashaiva ministers.