Bengaluru: Taking a dig at BJP leaders from North Karnataka, who have been protesting against the neglect of their region by the JD(S)-Congress coalition government and have even spoken in favour of a separate North Karnataka state, Chief Minister Mr H D Kumaraswamy on Monday wondered if they can generate revenue to complete the Upper Krishna Project (UKP), if a separate state was formed.
Addressing a massive rally at Channapattana, Mr Kumaraswamy vent his ire on leaders like former BJP minister Mr Umesh Katti and Ballari strongman Mr B. Sriramulu and said that about 65% of the revenue generated by Bengaluru was being spent on North Karnataka's developmental works.
"Even the media is part of the propaganda about my recent budget that it was a budget for Ramanagar, Mandya and Hassan districts. How much has been given to these three districts. In the over Rs 2.18 lakh crore budget, only Rs 500 crore has been given to these three districts. Even the farm loan waiver was dubbed as a Vokkaliga loan waiver. But the major beneficiaries of the waiver were Belagavi and Bagalkot districts. I wonder when the Vokkaligas migrated to North Karnataka," he quipped.
Taking a dig at farmers in Koppal district, who are protesting, demanding waiver of farmer loans, Kumaraswamy wondered why they did not remember him during the election? "While voting, they remembered their caste and money. Now, they want me to work (for them). If they had thought beyond caste and money during elections, they would have the moral right to ask for a complete loan waiver. I have extended them the benefits that I have extended to farmers in the rest of the state," he said.
Dismissing the allegations about disparity against North Karnataka as baseless, Kumaraswamy said that one should understand how Bengaluru's residents had contributed to the development of the whole of Karnataka. "Those who have lost their precious land for development of Bengaluru city are working as peons in corporate offices. The entire state's development activities are funded by revenue generated from the city. If separate statehood is given to North Karnataka, they won't be able to even generate revenue for completing major projects in the region," he said.
On various demands of the people of Chennapatna, Mr Kumaraswamy asked them not to expect him to fulfill all their demands within one year. "As finance minister, I have taken upon myself the burden of waiving farmer loans to the tune of Rs 46,000 crore. On June 20, when Siddaramaiah presented his budget, he had waived farmer loans to the tune of over Rs 8,165 crore. However, he had earmarked only Rs 4,165 crore for this purpose. I have to bear this burden and also the burden of another Rs 10,700 crore, after deciding to waive off existing loans. However, I have not stopped any programmes initiated by the previous government," he added.