Bengaluru: Not content in criticising the BJP at the centre, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has turned his focus on the saffron party ruled state of Karnataka by claiming that Raichur district – one of the most backward in the state – should be merged with it.
At a public event recently, Rao said people in Raichur want their areas to be merged with Telangana. He said they were attracted to the TRS government’s welfare schemes and were unhappy with the way the BJP government in Karnataka was treating them..
Karnataka is usually quick to condemn such merger statements, especially with Maharashtra which has been claiming the border district of Belagavi. But in the case of Telangana, the administration in Bengaluru has been maintaining a studied silence until Congress legislator Priyank Kharge criticised chief minister Basavaraj Bommai for not responding to Rao’s comments.
“I am disappointed that there has not been a single statement from you (CM) or anybody in the government on KCR’s claim. It has been more than 24 hours,” Kharge tweeted. He went on to accuse the government of bias.
“If it was a Belagavi border issue, the entire cabinet would have come out in defence. Why not for us (Raichur)? Does the BJP government consider us a part of Karnataka or not?” the Congress MLA from Kalaburagi, said.
Strangely enough, it was BJP legislator Shivaraj Patil who had first triggered the row when, in the presence of minister Prabhu Chavan in October last year, said Raichur would make progress if it was merged with Telangana.
“Raichur has become an isolated place,” Patil had said. “Uttar Karnataka means Hubballi, Dharwad, and Belagavi. Hyderabad-Karnataka means Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) and Bidar. Raichur must be at least merged with Telangana. You [Chavan] are in the cabinet; you must be our voice.”
Latching on, Telangana minister KT Ramarao had tweeted saying “validation for Telangana’s progress has come from a BJP MLA from Karnataka”.
But now, Patil has had a change of stand. He bask-tracked saying, “They don’t have any work and so are making such comments. It is politically motivated. The Telangana Congress in charge is from Raichur, so they are raking it up.”
Shankar B Patil Munenakoppa, minister in charge of Raichur, was quoted in the media as saying “Raichur and Yadgir are among 112 districts in the country included in the aspirational districts launched by the Centre. Raichur’s development work is moving at a rapid pace. Whatever the Telangana CM has said is wrong, and our CM has clearly said that not a single inch of Karnataka will be given to any state.”