BALLARI/ MYSURU: The call for north Karnataka bandh on August 2 over Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s alleged discrimination against the region has not only caused ripples within the Congress-JD(S) coalition but has now hit the opposition BJP too. On Friday, senior BJP leader and Molakalmuru MLA B Sriramulu threatened to lead an agitation himself for separate statehood if Kumaraswamy continues “his step-motherly treatment” towards north Karnataka but had to swallow his words by evening as the party state leadership did not take too kindly to his utterances.
Speaking to reporters in Molakalmuru, Sriramulu warned Kumaraswamy that he will be forced to support the demand for a separate North Karnataka state if the CM continues to neglect the region and will lead a Telangana-type agitation, if needed. Accusing Kumaraswamy of dividing people on the lines of caste, religion and region, Sriramulu said, “Kumaraswamy is frequently taunting farmers and the people. He is indirectly trying to divide the state.
This is nothing but revenge politics because his party failed to make its mark in north Karnataka,” he said. He is functioning as CM of just Hassan, Ramanagara and Mandya districts, just because they have voted for his party. He has neglected the coastal region too, Sriramulu said.However, the state BJP expressed its disapproval of such ‘separatist tendencies’. Party MP and state general secretary Shobha Karandlaje told reporters in Mysuru that BJP always stands for unity and integrity of Karnataka and exhorted all parties and leaders to work in this direction.
Taking exception to the CM’s statement recently at a farmers’ convention in Koppal where he allegedly said farmers of the region had no locus standi to demand farm loan waiver as they did not vote for JD(S), Sriramulu said, “People of this region do not sell themselves. You are not a CM for only four districts. You have ignored us in the budget. You have gone to the extent of saying that where there are no JD(S) workers, there are no facilities,” he said.
However, the state BJP expressed its disapproval of such ‘separatist tendencies’. Assuring the people of north Karnataka that the party is always with them, MP Shobha Karandlaje told reporters in Mysuru that the creation of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh has weakened both states. Karnataka should put up a united front to get justice in Cauvery, Krishna and Mahadayi disputes, she said.
After Shobha conveyed the party’s stand, Sriramulu retracted his statement later. “The agitation for a separate north Karnataka state is unfortunate. The step-motherly attitude of the coalition government has triggered separatist feelings,” Sriramulu said in a written statement. “I have immense commitment to the unity and integrity of Karnataka. I wish to see the state without any regional feelings. The view that I am supporting the agitation for a separate state is far from truth,” Sriramulu said.