HD Kumaraswamy budget ignores North Karnataka, spurs demand for statehood

Hubballi: The discontent brewing among people of North Karnataka over poor representation in the coalition government’s cabinet is all set to take a new turn with the clamour for separate statehood likely to grow stronger. 

A few local BJP leaders in Hubballi-Dharwad twin cities have publicly supported the demand and are trying to rope in senior leader and former minister Umesh Katti who is known for espousing the cause of statehood for the region and nurses an ambition to become chief minister after winning a record eighth time from Hukkeri Assembly constituency. Earlier, the leaders now upping the ante for statehood, had maintained silence and distanced themselves from Katti whenever he raised his voice. 

Meanwhile, several organisations including farmers forums have renewed their demand for statehood.Political party leaders and various organisations contend that the government has failed to take up major projects in North Karnataka and has not allotted grants to redress regional imbalance. They claim that the irrigation projects like Upper Krishna project and  Kalasa Banduri did not get due attention in the Budget though it is the lifeline of farmers of the region which is prone to drought. 

Terming the governments’ move to hold the legislature session at Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi as an eyewash, they stressed the need to shift several departments from Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru to make the administrative machinery more accessible to people of the region. The leaders of the region claimed that the JD(S) has been unfair to North Karnataka as people of the region have not elected party legislators in the elections. 

“We did support our party leader Umesh Katti when he had raised the separate statehood demand earlier fearing punitive action from the BJP top brass. Now, we are ready to back him. He has assured that he will take a decision after the ongoing legislature session. We will support anyone who leads the movement for separate statehood as JD(S) has taken revenge against the region for defeating its candidates in the elections”, BJP state executive member Lingaraj Patil said.

Meanwhile, North Karnataka Raitha Sangh has called for a bandh in all 13 districts of the region on August 2. Stating that the government has accorded step-motherly treatment, the president of the organisation Basavaraj Karigar said that farmers here are deprived of irrigation facilities though four rivers flow through the region. He alleged that the Budget is meant only for old Mysuru region where the JD(S) is strong. “The government has not regularised farmland of ‘Bagair Hukum’ farmers in our region though the farmers in southern parts o the state have already obtained title deeds. Therefore, we have formed a separate forum and are uniting farmers to raise the demand for separate statehood as many demands remain unfulfilled. We will intensify our agitation by calling for a bandh in all districts”, Basavaraj Karigar added.


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