Bengaluru: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has convened a meeting of legislators and parliamentarians from Ballari, where a bandh was observed on Tuesday, opposing the state government’s plan to bifurcate the district to create a new Vijayanagara district.
There is stiff resistance, especially within sections of the ruling BJP, against the proposal to create the new district by carving out six taluks from Ballari.
Yediyurappa has called a meeting of MLAs, MLCs and MPs representing Ballari district on Wednesday at his home office Krishna here to discuss the issue, CMO officials said.
Police said the bandh called by various organisations in Ballari, opposing bifurcation passed off peacefully and normal life was not affected much.
“It has been peaceful. Life is mostly normal, public transport is also operating. Most schools and colleges also functioned.
Protests were held at main circles and commercial establishments shut for some time on their own to express solidarity.. Things are getting back to normal,” Ballari Superintendent of Police C K Baba told PTI.
Much to the concern of the Yediyurappa government,several BJP leaders from Ballary like Minister B Sriramulu, MLAs Somashekar Reddy and Karunakara Reddy are against the division of Ballari.
Voicing opposition to the move, Somashekar Reddy who had earlier threatened to quit as MLA had said on Monday that “any approval for a separate Vijayanagara district will ignite a fire. We will not allow it to happen.”
While Karunakara Reddy and Somashekara Reddy arebrothers of mining baron and former Minister G Janardhan Reddy, who once had “complete hold” on the mine rich Ballaridistrict’s politics, Sriramulu is his close confidant.
BJP leaders are particularly upset with the Chief Minister over his swift action to create a new district,immediately after receiving a proposal from a delegation led by former Congress MLA from Vijayanagara constituency AnandSingh, without even consulting them.
Singh,one of the 17 disqualified MLAswhose rebellion led to the fall of the previous H D Kumaraswamy-led government, had cited the demand for a separate Vijayanagara district as one of the reasons for his resignation from Congress.
His resignation and absence of Singh and 16 other Congress-JD(S) legislators from the trust vote led to the collapse of theKumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government and helped BJP come to power.
BJP sources said the creation of the new district may politically benefit Singh, who is likely to be fielded as the saffron party’s candidate from Vijayanagar assembly segment in the December 5 by-polls, necessitated following his resignation as MLA and subsequent disqualification.
Ballari comprises nine assembly segments,of which Congress had won five and the BJP four in the 2018 assembly polls.
The Chief Minister had earlier this month asked chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar to place the proposal on the creation of the district before the next cabinet meeting.
As per the plan, Hosapete, Kampli, Hagaribommanahalli, Kotturu, Hadagali and Harapanahalli would form part of the proposed Vijayanagara district, while Kurugodu, Ballari, Siruguppa,Sanduru and Kudligi will remain in Ballari district.
Meanwhile, CLP leader Siddaramaiah has also expressed reservations against the move to create Ballari district and termed it as an attempt by BJP government to help Singh.
He demanded to know why the much bigger district of Balagavi, with 18 assembly constituencies, has not been divided.
There has also been a long pending demand from some quarters to carve out Chikkodi as a separate district from Belagavi, which is the state’s largest district in terms of area.
There has been growing demand for creation of new districts, with senior Congress leader G Parameshwara on Monday writing to Chief Minister Yediyurappa to consider creation of Madhugiri district by bifurcating Tumakuru.
Demand for the creation of a new Jamkhandi district from Bagalkot has also gained momentum.