BENGALURU: Reaching out to agitators demanding a separate state for North Karnataka, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday held talks with leaders who have given a bandh call on August 2. Rejecting all claims of he or his government being unfair to the region, Kumaraswamy listed out the schemes and programmes he had envisioned for North Karnataka.
While the leaders of Uttara Karnataka Pratyeka Rajya Horata Samithi welcomed the Chief Minister's assurances, they refused to revoke the bandh call. They have now asked the CM to convene a meeting of legislators in Suvarna Soudha within 15 days to respond to the demands of the people of the region.
"Neither did this agitation begin today, nor is the anger directed against this government. We began our agitation in 2007 after consecutive governments failed the people of North Karnataka," said Somashekhar Kothambari, president of the committee demanding a separate state. He appealed to the Chief Minister to give more representation to legislators from North Karnataka in the cabinet, diversify investments and route them to districts of Hyderabad- and Mumbai-Karnataka regions and set up district-wise industrial and manufacturing units instead of focusing only on Bengaluru and neighbouring districts.
"The call for bandh was given by the community as a whole and we need to consult them. We are happy with the CM's assurances but there is no change in our decision on the bandh. Any changes will be announced later," Kothambari told the media after the meeting.At the meeting, the CM highlighted his contributions to North Karnataka during his previous term as chief minister reminding the agitators that he had visited North Karnataka districts 35 times as part of his grama vastavya programme.
"I take full responsibility and ensure development of North Karnataka. Schools, colleges, educational institutions, hospitals, infrastructure etc will be taken care of. BJP is unable to digest the fact that I have waived farmers' loans. They have no other agenda till Lok Sabha polls and hence are dragging this issue," Kumaraswamy said defending his recent statements and accusing the BJP of vilifying him.
In an attempt to woo the protestors, Kumaraswamy even claimed that out of the Rs 2.18 lakh crore budget only about Rs 550 crore was allocated by him for projects in Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagara and Hassan. The issue of jobs, lack of medical and educational facilities, connectivity, development, infrastructure were raised at the meeting to compare the stark contrast between South and North districts of Karnataka.
BJP politicising separate statehood issue, says Parameshwara
Bengaluru: Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara on Tuesday said the demand of a separate state for north Karnataka is being politicised by the BJP. He told mediapersons that the issue of lack of development in northern parts of Karnataka was being redressed since the time when S M Krishna was the chief minister. He recollected that according to Nanjundappa's report, as many as 114 taluks had been identified as backward taluks. He emphasised that the separatists demands should be discouraged as many had sacrificed their lives to witness an unified Karnataka. "Kannadigas should remain united,'' he stressed.