96 MLAs, 7 berths! N. Karnataka farmers fume, plan July 2 rally

Deccan Chronicle.  | vittal shastri

Nation, Politics

Farmer leaders to revive call for statehood, say governance has come to a halt.

File picture of Congress leaders of North Karnataka, M.B. Patil and H.K. Patil

Hubballi: Upset at the region  receiving little representation in the JDS-Congress coalition government, the North Karnataka Raitha Sangh formed by  farmers leaders  is planning to hold a  rally in Haveri on July 2 to revive the call for statehood for North Karnataka.

Of the 96 newly elected MLAs from North Karnataka, nearly half  belong to both the Congress and JD(S),  but only seven have been given Cabinet berths. The fact that  several drought- prone districts have received no representation has upset not just the local politicians but also the  farming community.

There is much anger over the government’s failure to appoint district in-charge ministers as well as this has brought the entire administrative machinery to a grinding halt in the region. The cry for redressal of regional imbalance is therefore threatening to turn into a demand for separate statehood. 

“In Haveri district alone, over 11,000 Bagair Hukum farmers are seeking regularization of 39,000 acres of farm land in forests where they have been doing agriculture for decades. These farmers of North Karnataka are deprived of their land rights although the government has already given the title deeds to the farmers of the south. The farmers of our region are given step-motherly treatment on several issues, including the Mahadayi.  So we are uniting farmers to raise the demand for  a separate statehood,” said North Karnataka Raitha Sangh president, Basavaraj Karigar. 

With prominent politicians from the region like Basavaraj Horatti, H.K. Patil and, M.B. Patil, who can call the shots in the government, not finding a place in the Cabinet,  the farmers feel they are in for an even harder time. 

“The government machinery is concentrated only in Bengaluru and it is not accessible to the people of North Karnataka.  The absence of adequate representation for the region in the Cabinet may stoke a fresh demand for separate statehood,” warned  farmer leader, Vikas Soppin.