Resistance within BJP over Bellari issue grows

Resistance within BJP over Bellari issue grows

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

The resistance from within the ruling BJP against the Karnataka government's plan to create a new Vijayanagara district by carving out six taluks from Ballari is gaining momentum, with a party MLA on Sunday reminding Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa of their support to him in occupying the top post.

The Chief Minister had earlier this month asked the chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar to place the proposal on the creation of the district before the next cabinet meeting.

If approved, Vijayanagara would become the state's 31st district.

"When we heard about the proposal, we doubted for a second on whether we got elected from the BJP or not. In Ballari, there are four MLAs from the BJP. All of us should have been called, our opinion gathered and a decision could have been arrived at," Harapanahalli MLA Karunakara Reddy said.

Speaking to reporters, he said, "We have the highest regard and respect for Yediyurappa. But, he is an experienced person should not have moved so swiftly on the issue." Minister B Sriramulu and BJP MLA from Ballari city G Somashekara Reddy had also opposed the move to carve a separate district.

Somashekhar Reddy on Saturday had even threatened to quit if Ballari was split to create a new Vijayanagar district, following which Yediyurappa said he would convene a meeting of MLAs from Ballari to discuss on the issue.

Karunakara Reddy and others were particularly upset with Chief Minister over his swift action towards creating a new district, immediately after receiving a proposal from a delegation led by former Congress MLA from Vijayanagara constituency Anand Singh.

Anand Singh, one of the 17 disqualified MLAs whose rebellion led to the fall of the previous H D Kumaraswamy-led government, had cited the demand for a separate Vijayanagara district as one of the reasons for his resignation from Congress.

Resignation and absence of Singh and 16 other Congress-JD(S) legislators, from the trust vote, led to the collapse of H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government and helped BJP come to power.

According to BJP sources, politically the creation of the new district is likely to benefit Singh, who is likely to be fielded as BJP candidate from Vijayanagar assembly segment during the upcoming by-poll which was necessitated following his resignation as MLA and subsequent disqualification.

Ballari comprises nine Assembly segments of which the Congress had won five and the BJP four in the 2018 Assembly polls.

Pointing out that Hosapet is at a distance of 60 km from Ballari and Kampli at 50 km, Reddy said, Within an hour or so one can reach Ballari, with all this, I don't see any scientific reason in creating the separate district, this is my opinion."

In a note written to the Chief Secretary, Yediyurappa said keeping public and administrative interest in mind, it was necessary to create the new district with six out of 11 taluks in Ballari district with Hosapet as its headquarters.

Noting that some parts of the Ballari district were about 200 km away from the present headquarters, the Chief Minister said it was causing inconvenience to farmers, poor, labourers and common people.

As per the plan, Hosapet, Kampli, Hagaribommanahalli, Kotturu, Hadagali and Harapanahalli would form part of the proposed Vijayanagara district, while Kurugodu, Ballari, Siruguppa, Sanduru and Kudligi would remain in Ballari district.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah also questioned the move about dividing the district, when Belagavi has not been divided.

There has also been a demand for long from some quarters to carve out Chikkodi as a separate district from Belagavi, which is the state's largest district in terms of area.

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