Cong, BJP lock horns over H-K special status bill

Serious differences have cropped up between the BJP government and the Congress over the special status to be provided to the Hyderabad-Karnataka (H-K) region.

While the BJP has insisted nothing less than a Telangana-like status, the Congress has alleged that the BJP government has become a stumbling block for the development of the region.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said on Saturday that the State government was firm that the Telangana model of special status should be provided to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

He told reporters that the State had already made it clear in its opinion sent to the Centre that special status on the lines of Telangana should be provided to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. He hoped the Union Cabinet would consider the State government’s opinion and clear the required Constitution amendment bill at its next meeting.

A parliamentary standing committee had suggested that the Centre withdraw the present Constitution amendment bill granting special status to Hyderabad-Karnataka region and reintroduce it after consulting the State government.

As per the current bill, the governor is the authorised person for granting funds and overseeing its implementation, which is similar to the status given to the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. The State government is not keen on this model and has sought the Telangana model, which has the provision for providing reservation in education and employment.

‘People will rebel’

Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who is from Gulbarga, has expressed displeasure over the demand by the State for the Telangana-like status.

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Kharge said the good features of both the Telangana and Vidarbha models had been incorporated in the draft bill to amend the Constitution for giving special status to the H-K region.

If the Telangana model is adopted, it will create employment opportunities and focus on providing education to children.

In the Vidarbha model, there is scope for comprehensive development of the region, he said.

The State should not have raised objection on the grounds that it was not consulted when the draft bill is about to be tabled in parliament. The issue should not be politicised, he said and added that people would rebel against the BJP government, in case it poses hindrance to grant the special status.

Addressing a press conference in Bangalore, Congress leaders Boseraj and Basavaraj Rayareddy said that the BJP government had done injustice to the H-K region by raising objections and delaying the process. BJP MP Venkaiah Naidu, who is on the Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs, should not have sought return of the Bill, after it was presented in the Lok Sabha.

As many as districts - Bellary, Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Yadgir and Bidar - would witness rapid development if the Constitution amendment bill is allowed to be passed. Naidu is jealous of the development of the State and hence, he has raised objections, they alleged.

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