I take onus for North Karnataka's progress: HDK

I take onus for North Karnataka's progress: HDK

H D Kumaraswamy

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday announced a slew of measures to quell the demand for a separate North Karnataka state, including his support to declaring Belagavi as Karnataka’s second capital.

North Karnataka will get an Upalokayukta who will work out of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi. Three information commissioners will be posted to North Karnataka — two in Belagavi and one in Kalaburagi. Some government departments will be shifted to the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha and officials working out of Bengaluru will be shifted to the northern regions.

“These are measures I have had in mind for quite some time now. I will visit North Karnataka in another 15 days. I will spend two days in every district,” Kumaraswamy told a delegation demanding statehood for North Karnataka. 

The BJP wants to keep the North Karnataka issue alive till the Lok Sabha elections, Kumaraswamy said. “But I want you to have faith in me. I will take responsibility for North Karnataka’s development...I am for united Karnataka. I can’t even think of dividing the state. My government will not discriminate between the north and the south,” he stated.

In a subtle dig at his alliance partner Congress, Kumaraswamy said the previous government earmarked Rs 4,500 crore for development of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region of which Rs 2,500 crore was released and Rs 2,200 crore spent. “But it turns out that officers who are supposed to implement these projects have not been appointed at all.”

Refuting charges that his budget focused on the Old Mysore region, the chief minister said that he had allocated only Rs 514 crore out of the budget outlay of Rs 2.19 lakh crore for Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru and other parts. “The previous government’s budget was Rs 2.09 lakh crore. Mine is Rs 2.19 lakh crore. The additional Rs 10,000 crore outlay will go towards farm loan waiver of Rs 6,500 crore, Rs 1,000 crore for Bengaluru and Rs 500 crore for industrial clusters in North Karnataka,” he said.

The chief minister also clarified that he held no grouse against people of North Karnataka for not having voted for the JD(S) in the recent Assembly elections. “Our leaders did not have the potential to get your votes,” he said, with JD(S) leader N H Konareddy who lost from Navalgund seated next to him.

Somashekar Kothambari, president of the Pratheyeka Rajya Horata Samiti, however, said a decision on withdrawing the August 2 bandh will be announced later.

Earlier, he told the chief minister that the separate state demand started in 2002 after “successive governments continued to neglect the northern region”.

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