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Bifurcate Karnataka: Demands North Karnataka MLA

Bengaluru: The decades-old demand to bifurcate Karnataka into two states is once again gaining prominence with a section of Congress leaders taking Chief Minister Siddaramaiah head on. Since the last one month, prominent leaders from the North Karnataka region have launched a campaign demanding separate statehood.

This time, Congress legislator A. S. Patil Nadahalli openly accused Siddaramaiah of ignoring North Karnataka while allocating funds in the Karnataka State Budget 2015-16 for irrigation projects and agricultural development work.

BJP legislators from North Karnataka too has joined the chorus for a separate state. "The Congress government has always neglected North Karnataka. Bifurcating it into two states is the only way forward," lamented former minister and BJP leader Umesh V. Katti. The demand for a separate statehood for North Karnataka came alive after the chief minister recommended south Karnataka cities, which also included his hometown Mysuru, as possible locations for setting up an IIT in the state.

"Siddaramaiah has always adopted anti-North Karnataka stand. What stopped him from recommending Belagavi (Belgaum) for IIT? This is further alienating us from south Karnataka," remarked Prabhakar Kore. Belagavi is the educational hub of North Karnataka and already as an ecosystem for a premier institute, such as IIT.

It is not only in education sector, leaders from the agricultural sector too allege that every successive government has neglected North Karnataka, which has the largest extent of arid land in India after Rajasthan. "We feel sorry that we are demanding a separate state for North Karnataka. Our intention is not to divide this state. Unfortunately, for the last 60 years, North Karnataka has been insulated from development. We do not want people to suffer any more," said Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) president Chamarasa Malipatila.

However, Siddaramaiah has ruled out bifurcating Karnataka into two states. "The integrity of Karnataka cannot be disturbed. Those demanding a separate state for North Karnataka are just indulging in petty politics. The government is not neglecting North Karnataka," he contended.

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