In the 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress party bagged a huge victory in the Hyderabad-Karnataka belt, which include the six districts of Bidar, Raichur, Yadgir, Ballari, Gulbarga and Koppala.
Just a year before the elections, the Manmohan Singh government had amended Article 371 of the Indian Constitution to grant special status to six districts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka belt.
The Congress party, had, in 2013, promised the development of this region by using the 371(J) as a poll strategy. The belt has 39 Assembly constituencies and Congress had won 24 of them that year.
With the 2018 polls nearing, the Congress is once again hoping to win over the Hyderabad-Karnataka belt by once again using the 371(J) and the “developmental works carried out by the party in the region”.
CM Siddaramaiah, who had recently announced that “the Congress party’s revival will begin in Karnataka”, has all set to “remind” people of the gains made since the amendment.
The party has chosen AICC General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi to be their spokesperson in this regard. Later, on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi will be felicitated at a rally in Raichur.
According to sources in the Congress, the entire region has been filled with posters and hoardings, welcoming Rahul Gandhi.
“We are expecting a lakh to one-and-a-half-lakh Congress party workers from the Hyderabad-Karnataka belt to attend the rally,” district in-charge Minister Tanveer Sait told media persons.
“The special status granted to Hyderabad-Karnataka through section 371(J) is only an election gimmick. No actual development has been done. The political leaders are responsible for the region’s backwardness. Look at the figures. The Congress government, had allocated Rs 4,512 crore for developmental works in the region between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 budget. It has released only Rs 2,080 crore and only Rs 1,697 of that meagre amount has been used for developmental works,” a source with the BJP said.
According to the BJP source, the party’s vistarak programme has been a success, the feedback they have received is that people are unhappy with the BJP because of the infighting.
“It is true that there is no unity in the party and leaders resort to fighting amongst themselves. Amit Shah will arrive later today and is expected to settle the differences. Also, his visit will boost the morale in the party,” the source added.
Amit Shah will hold meetings with intellectuals on Saturday and is slated to meet the Adichunchanagiri pontiff to improve the party’s Vokkaliga vote bank. He will also hold talks with Dalit, Adivasi and Backward Caste leaders and party workers from all Lok Sabha constituencies in the Karnataka, where the BJP had suffered a defeat in 2014.