North Karnataka statehood demands: CM ready for discussions

By PTI Published on Jul 27, 2018 12:29 PM IST

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he was open for a discussion on the development of North Karnataka, a day after some outfits called for a bandh on August 2 to press their demand for statehood for the region.

The Chief Minister also invited those demanding a separate state for a meeting to discuss the issues concerning the region. "Do they have any information about the developments in the last 60 to 70 years? Without any information with some personal interests they are doing all these things," Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

He asked whether discrimination has happened in the last two months. "Do the people of north Karnataka feel let down after I assumed charge as Chief Minister or when my government came to power? I'm ready to discuss it anywhere," Kumaraswamy said.

"Those wanting to divide the state, why they are asking for this?... I'm ready to call for a public hearing or invite the organisations to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (in Belagavi) for a meeting. I openly request them to bring their problems to my notice," he added.

A day-long bandh has been called by some outfits in 13 districts of north Karnataka on August 2 demanding statehood for the region, alleging discrimination by successive governments towards it. Calling for the bandh, 'Uttara Karnataka Pratyeka Rajya Horata Samiti' (North Karnataka Separate Statehood Protest Committee) has alleged discrimination in allocation for the region in the budget presented by Kumaraswamy on July 5 and also lesser representation in the cabinet.

Commenting on the demand for a separate north Karnataka state, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said development of "Akhanda Karnataka" (united Karnataka) was the government's agenda. "Whole of Karnataka is one, there is no second or third Karnataka. It is akhanda Karnataka.... We don't have anything like one part should develop and other part should not," he said.

Parameshwara also recalled efforts by successive Congress governments for the development of northern parts of the state, including getting special category status for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.