Leaders of the movement demanding a separate North Karnataka state are planning to hold a bandh on Wednesday.

Heads of 30 North Karnataka mutts protest in Belagavi asking for development of regionYouTube
news Politics Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 14:53

Seers of over 30 religious mutts from various districts of North Karnataka gathered outside the Suvarna Soudha – the legislative seat for the winter session of the Assembly – on Tuesday, and began protesting for the development of the northern districts of the states.

The seers claimed that the region had been terribly neglected by successive governments and that the current government too had sidelined the region. They, however, reiterated that their demand was not for a separate state but for the development of the region.

Meanwhile, several BJP workers, who are in support of the demand for a separate state, protested outside Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s home in Hubballi and tried to vandalise the property. The local police, deployed at the spot detained several BJP workers and dispersed the crowd.

The Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti along with several MLAs and leaders from the northern districts of the state are holding a bandh on Wednesday, demanding a separate state.

The seers’ protest is seen as a prelude to this. Chandrashekar Shivacharya Swami of the Hukkeri Mutt, Allama Prabhu Swami from Chikkodi Mutt and several seers from mutts in Gokak, Belagavi, Bailhongal, Hubbali and Dharwad had gathered outside Suvarna Soudha and called for the development of the northern districts of Karnataka.

BJP state President and Leader of Opposition in Vidhana Sabha, BS Yeddyurappa, who visited the seers in Belagavi on Tuesday requested them to call off the protest, while stating that a separate statehood was not the solution to solving the problems in the northern districts of Karnataka.

Speaking to the media in Belagavi, Yeddyurappa said, “Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is playing politics of divide and rule. Unfortunately, it seems he is working only for the people of only 37 JDS MLA segments and not for entire Karnataka. CM’s injustice to different people of other parts of Karnataka, especially North Karnataka has caused them to protest.”

Although it seems like the demand for a separate state kicked off after Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s remark against the people of north Karnataka, the rumblings of dissent began when a leader from one of the northern districts was not made the Deputy Chief Minister.

Sources in the JD(S) revealed that Congress MLA and former Minister for Water Resources, MB Patil had hoped to become the Deputy CM. This would have ensured equal representation for people of the northern and southern districts, the source said.

A new problem arose after this – the state Budget.

After the budget was announced by CM Kumaraswamy on June 5, Lingayat Congress leader from the northern district of Gadag had expressed his displeasure over the meagre funds allotted for the development of the northern districts. Many had criticised the Budget allocation and dubbed it the Hassan-Holenarasipura Budget.

This was followed by CM Kumaraswamy’s statement that the people of “north Karnataka must be grateful for the budgetary allocation even though they had not voted for the JD(S)”.

When the issue blew out of proportion, the CM ended up blaming the media for the turn of events.

Meanwhile, pro-Kannada outfits have opposed the demand for a separate state and members of the Kasturi Karnataka Janapara Vedike on Tuesday held a protest in Channapatna. The protesters had erected two photographs of BJP MLA Sriramulu and poured cow dung and vermillion on it.

The protesters were against MLA Sriramulu's statement that he would support the cause for a separate North karnataka state. The MLA soon recanted his statement after a dressing down from the high command.