BELAGAVI: Bidar MP Bhagwanth Khuba said the long-running dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra over the boundary districts is a closed chapter. Bidar is one of the major cities on the border, besides Belagavi, Bhalki, Nipani, Khanapur and Karwar, which the Maharashtra government has been claiming, and has also moved the Supreme Court, in a last-ditch attempt for the transfer of these areas.
Claiming that the boundary dispute does not exist any more, he said there is no point dragging the issue. Many Marathi-speaking people in Kalyan-Karnataka region have accepted Kannada and also taught the language to their children, he said.
At 54, the young MoS is confident and excited about taking on the challenges of his role in the Narendra Modi government. His confidence sky-high, Khuba is geared up to handle two important portfolios allotted to him, and states that he is ready to work hard to meet people’s expectations, effectively implement the Centre’s programmes, and dreams of delivering satisfactorily as Union minister. In an interview with TNIE after assuming office in New Delhi, Khuba spoke about his plans and challenges ahead. Excerpts.
Why do you think PM Modi inducted you as minister, from among several aspirants?
As Bidar MP for seven years, I have played a key role in the implementation of developmental works in the constituency. Several people-friendly initiatives and programmes of the Centre, especially Fasal Bima, Ujwal, Ayushman Bharat, were implemented effectively. I worked hard as MP to bolster the BJP in the region. I never gave scope for any development that tarnished the image of the party. Another plus point is my age.
Did you expect to be included in the Union cabinet?
I never expected to be in the cabinet, but certainly hoped to be, given the way I worked as party leader and MP for several years. There is a network of the Modi government across the country which keeps a tab on the performance of party leaders. The network is aware of the work we take up for society. I am very sure that lobbying for positions and cabinet berths never works in the BJP, everything is on merit.
What are your plans for Kalyan Karnataka region, which was deprived of development for many decades?
No major projects or works are pending in Kalyan Karnataka region, as far as I know. The state government is capable of ensuring overall development of the region. Unfortunately, the Congress government did nothing other than give bogus assurances to the people for 70 years. I will take my role as minister seriously, and work for development of all regions in the country.
Do you have any plans for Karnataka in implementation of major Central projects?
With two portfolios to handle, I have to focus on implementing projects in all parts of the country. The Centre had been corresponding well with all states, and responding to their problems. Karnataka will get what it deserves from the Centre.
Do you think the Lingayat community, to which you belong, is getting its due in the BJP, given the fact that some of your own leaders are trying to unseat CM B S Yediyurappa...
I am more concerned about the utilisation of funds to be allocated to my departments, rather than politics. With so much responsibility, I have to fulfil my duties first. Kotta kudureyannu yeradavanu shuranu alla dheeranu alla (I have to fulfil the responsibility vested in me as a responsible person) is a vachana written by Allama Prabhu.