After the creation of the new district of Vijaynagara splitting Ballari, the BS Yediyurappa government in Karnataka is under pressure to carve 3 districts from Belagavi, bordering Maharashtra.
The reason given to split Ballari was it is large and would be easier to govern if a new district is carved out. But the real reason, it is alleged, was to help mining baron Anand Singh, currently Forest Minister, to establish his turf in Vijayanagara, his constituency, and get away from the Reddy brothers who control Ballari and the mining business.
However, Belagavi and Tumakuru are much bigger than Ballari. Though the demands to split the 2 districts were first made 2-3 decades ago, the issue has now been raised again significantly.
The demand is to split Belagavi, which has 18 assembly segments, into 3 districts — Belagavi, Gokak and Chikkodi. In the past, governments have avoided the issue as there are competing territorial demands from local clans — the Jarkiholis, Kattis, Jolles, Pattans, Koujalgis and Hukkeris.
Similarly, Tumakuru has 10 taluks and there is now a demand to create a new district with Madhugiri as its HQ.
However, Yediyurappa has put the issue on hold after objections from BJP MLAs, who fear their influence will shrink if the district is bifurcated. “Yediyurappa has encouraged large-scale defections from other parties and brought the rebels into the BJP-fold. As a result, BJP has too many heavyweights in districts like Ballari and Belagavi. All want a fiefdom,” a BJP MLA from Ballari was quoted in the media. “By splitting Ballari, Yediyurappa is helping Singh (Anand Singh). But will he do the same in Belagavi?”