North Karnataka row: HDK promises to make Belagavi the second capital

Bengaluru : On the eve of a bandh in 13 districts of North Karnataka, a worried Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy went into a damage-control mode and promised to grant Belagavi city the status of second capital. He also promised to shift some government departments to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (SVS), the secretariat building in Belagavi.

HDK”s panic comes not just because he has been accused of neglecting North Karnataka; he also insulted the region charging them for not voting for the JD(S) but only demanding sops. He is also worried as the BJP has hijacked the discontent brewing in the region and the Congress has blamed him for the mess.

The demand for a separate state has now been dropped; instead, the focus of the agitators and the bandh sponsors is the neglect of the region.

The move to make Belagavi the second capital is an old one and is more than a decade-old promise. This has also been one of the long-pending demands of the people in the region to confront the border row with neighbouring Maharashtra.

In 2006, the Karnataka assembly under the JD(S)-BJP regime had adopted a unanimous resolution to grant Belagavi the status of second capital, akin to Nagpur in Maharashtra, and Jammu in Jammu and Kashmir, while endorsing the Mahajan Commission report which declared Belgaum a part of Karnataka.

Then the Karnataka government built a white elephant called Suvarna Vidhana Soudha spending a huge amount. But the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha is used only for 10 days in a year for which all officials and others go for what can be considered as a ”picnic.”

Kumaraswamy is now contemplating to shift some departments to SVS in Belagavi. “As of now, SVS functions on only 10 days a year, during the winter session. I intend to keep SVS active all 365 days of the year, and see that people from Kalaburagi, Belagavi or Hubbali-Dharwad should not come to Bengaluru for every small issue,” he said.

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