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Kumaraswamy tries ‘love, affection’ to calm north Karnataka statehood demand

Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said his government was committed to the region’s development and termed the issue a “conspiracy” by political opponents ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2018 15:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Kumaraswamy,Karnataka,North Karnataka statehood
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy during an interview at Karnataka Bhavan, in New Delhi.(Burhaan Kinu/HT File Photo)

Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is in the eye of a political storm over the demand of a separate state, has said he has “plans and programmes” for north Karnataka in an attempt to ward off allegations of discrimination by organisations representing the region.

Kumaraswamy said his government was committed to the region’s development and termed the issue a “conspiracy” by political opponents ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

“Consider me as one among you (people of north Karnataka) ... Some people want to create a distance between us by indulging in false propaganda. I have plans and programmes to earn your love and affection,” Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday while meeting representatives of outfits demanding a separate north Karnataka state.

The chief minister said his government is planning to shift some offices to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in north Karnataka and that plans are on to shift several other offices, including the ‘Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam’, to the region.

“There are two upa lokayukta’s in the state. I have plans to shift one upa lokayukta to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha. Then there are about five or six RTI commissioners. Among them, I plan to shift three to northern districts - one to Kalaburagi and other two to Belagavi Suvarna Vidhana Soudha,” Kumaraswamy said.

He said he had already made plans to shift some offices from Bengaluru and ensure the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi functions all around the year actively.

Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi modelled on the lines of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat and legislature in Bengaluru, functions only during the winter session of the state legislature and is shut during the rest of the year.

The chief minister made the comments while meeting the representatives of outfits that have called for a day-long shutdown in 13 districts of north Karnataka on August 2.

The Uttara Karnataka Pratyeka Rajya Horata Samiti (North Karnataka Separate Statehood Protest Committee) has alleged discrimination in the allocation of funds for the region in the budget presented by Kumaraswamy on July 5 as well as inadequate representation in the cabinet.

Kumaraswamy also blamed public representatives from the region for the current state of north Karnataka and said he has never differentiated between the north and south as he listed various initiatives taken by him for the region during his earlier stint at the post.

He also rejected the charge that his budget concentrated only on certain districts of south Karnataka.

The chief minister sought time to address the issues faced by the region and urged for at least a year’s time, “without any disturbance”, to carry out various works.

“I’m ready to work for 24 hours. I will not sit quiet,” he said.

“I don’t want to talk about who did what in the past. What I know is that now I have got the opportunity and will take complete responsibility for developing north Karnataka, whether it is industries, irrigation or infrastructure,” he added.

He blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for raising the demand for separate north Karnataka state.

“As I have waived Rs 49,000 crore farm loans, the BJP is unable to digest it. They want some issue for Parliament election and are hence raising this issue,” he said.

The BJP’s state unit president BS Yeddyurappa has said the chief minister was indulging in a “divide and rule” policy and squarely blamed him for the demand for a separate state.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 14:19 IST