The Lingayats and the Vokkaligas have been dominant in Karnataka since time immemorial and the tussle for power between these two communities is no secret. Karnataka has till date had five chief ministers from the Vokkaliga community, and six have been Lingayats. There were three CMs from the backward classes while Brahmins managed to hold the top spot in Karnataka twice. These statistics clearly show the dominance of both the Vokkaligas and Lingayats in Karnataka.
It is now evident that it these two communities will tip the scales once again in the forthcoming assembly elections. The Vokkaligas, who comprise 15 per cent of the 5 crore-odd population of Karnataka, are spread mainly across Bangalore, Mandya, Hassan, Mysore, Kolar and Chikamagalur. The Lingayats comprise 17 per cent of the population of Karnataka and are dominant in the central and northern parts of Karnataka.
The Dalits in Karnataka comprise 23 per cent of the population, Kurubas 8 per cent while the Muslims make up 10 per cent. The rest of the population comprises Christians and others.
Though the Dalits outnumber the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, it is the two communities that matter in the state's politics.
Over a period of time, it has been noticed that the Vokkaligas and the Lingayats vote for a leader and not a party. So if a chief ministerial candidate is from their community, they will vote for that person's party.
Moreover, there is a fear among both communities that the other will try and outsmart them. Hence a constant tussle between the two castes to ensure that their leader gets the top spot.
Sad day, when the caste of the leader decides which party you support as opposed to the ideologies of the party. Read the full article at http://in.rediff.com/news/2008/apr/21spec.htm