Karnataka CM Bommai defends Bengaluru, calls KTR's comments 'utter joke'

The ‘competition’ between Hyderabad and Bengaluru arose when a startup founder tweeted about Bengaluru’s lack of civic facilities.
Collage of KTR and CM Bommai
Collage of KTR and CM Bommai
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Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has dismissed the comparison between Bengaluru and Hyderabad as a ‘joke’ amid a war of words sparked by the comments of Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao. Days ago, a Bengaluru-based startup founder took to Twitter to complain about lack of civic facilities in Bengaluru, to which KTR had responded, “Pack your bags and move to Hyderabad.”

While several Congress and BJP leaders reacted to the tweet, the latest to respond was the Karnataka Chief Minister himself. On Tuesday, April 5, Bommai dismissed KTR’s comments as “an utter joke”. “It is an utter joke....not just India, people from across the world are coming to Bengaluru. Highest number of startups are in Bengaluru. Highest number of unicorns are in Bengaluru, million and billion dollars worth," he said, adding, “Comparing Karnataka with Telangana or Bengaluru with Hyderabad is an utter joke."

The debate over the ‘competition’ between Hyderabad and Bengaluru arose when Ravish Naresh, founder of startups Khatabook and Housing.com, tweeted about Bengaluru’s lack of infrastructure including roads, power supply and footpaths. To this, KTR had responded, “Pack your bags & move to Hyderabad! We have better physical infrastructure & equally good social infrastructure. Our airport is 1 of the best & getting in & out of city is a breeze More importantly our Govt's focus is on 3 i Mantra; innovation, infrastructure & inclusive growth (sic)."

Karnataka politicians from across party lines took offence to KTR’s words, with state Congress chief DK Shivakumar saying, “My friend, I accept your challenge. By the end of 2023, with Congress back in power in Karnataka, we will restore the glory of Bengaluru as India’s best city.”

KTR responded to this by tweeting, “I don’t know much about politics of Karnataka and who will win but challenge accepted. Let Hyderabad and Bengaluru compete healthily on creating jobs for our youngsters and prosperity for our great nation. Let’s focus on infrastructure, IT&BT, not on halal and hijab.”

The tweet was seemingly in reference to a call by Hindu groups in Karnataka to boycott halal meat for the 'Varshadodaku' or 'Hosa Todaku', the day after the Ugadi festival, when many communities in the state have a non-vegetarian feast. BJP national general secretary CT Ravi had even called halal food "economic jihad."

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