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Backlash Forces BJP to Disassociate From Separate North Karnataka Demand, BSY Targets JDS

File photo of Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa.

File photo of Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa.

Several pro-Kannada organisations led by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) held an emergency meeting opposing the demand. Some of its leaders told News18 that some BJP leaders are behind the sudden demand keeping an eye on the Lok Sabha elections due early next year.

Bengaluru: The negative publicity and the fear of total washout in south Karnataka is forcing the BJP to do a U-turn on the demand for separate north Karnataka state. The state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa has now turned the tables on ruling JDS-Congress coalition by alleging that actually the JDS was fuelling the demand to rule the south Karnataka, if the bifurcation happens.

In a press release, Yeddyurappa has said that JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda and his son CM HD Kumaraswamy were behind the sudden demand for a separate state. “The JDS is a south Karnataka party. If the state is united it can never come to power on its own. Because of that Kumaraswamy made a statement that north Karnataka people should have voted for the JDS if they wanted more development. It has naturally angered the north Karnataka people and some are demanding a separate state,” the statement said.

He has also said that he would be travelling to Belgaum on Tuesday to request the religious leaders and local organisations to drop the demand for a separate state.

Some BJP leaders from north Karnataka who had openly backed the demand have now done a U-turn claiming that they are for a united Karnataka and they are not backing the people who want a separate state.

The senior BJP leader and MLA B Sriramulu, who had earlier demanded a separate state, has issued a statement saying that he is for united Karnataka. The BJP MP Shobha Kadandlaje has also made a scathing attack on Kumaraswamy holding his immature statement responsible for the current demand.

However, both JDS and Congress leaders are attacking the BJP for its doublespeak. The former chief minister Siddaramaiah has held the BJP responsible for the demand terming it as the most foolish thing.

Speaking to News18 he said: “Government has not ignored north Karnataka. We have done our best to develop the regions in the north. Some vested interests are behind the demand. The BJP is using it for the political gains”.

Hitting back at Yeddyurappa, the chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has said that he was not the chief minister for just four districts in south Karnataka. “The BJP is desperate for power. It is trying to divide the state for votes. It will backfire if they go ahead with it. After realising that there is no ground support for such a demand, the BJP is now blaming the JDS and the Congress. But the people are intelligent and the BJP has been exposed,” he said.

The top Congress and JDS leaders from north Karnataka like M B Patil, Satish Jharkhiholi, Basavaraja Horatti and others have attacked the BJP for allegedly backing the demand.

Several pro-Kannada organisations led by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) held an emergency meeting opposing the demand. Some of its leaders told News18 that some BJP leaders are behind the sudden demand keeping an eye on the Lok Sabha elections due early next year.

According to political analysts, the BJP seems to have realised that it would be extremely difficult for the party to win seats from south Karnataka because of the JDS-Congress alliance. By raking up separate state demand on the grounds of “step motherly” treatment to north Karnataka by the Gowdas, it is trying to mobilise the voters in the northern parts of the state. They feel that the BJP would keep the issue alive till the Parliament elections.

Commenting on BJP’s sudden U-turn a senior political observer Gautham Machaiah said, “A Kannada saying goes, "Neither should the snake die, nor should the stick break." While one set of BJP leaders is demanding a separate North Karnataka state, another is opposing it. A clear case of wanting to have the cake and eat it too?”

Even though the BJP is strong in north Karnataka (particularly in Mumbai – Karnataka region), most of its top leaders, including Yeddyurappa, are from southern Karnataka. Union minister Ananthkumar is a native of Dharwad who made Bengaluru his home long ago. Another Union minister and former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, senior leaders K S Eshwarappa, Shobha Karandlaje, R Ashoka, CT Ravi, G M Siddeshwara are all from Old Mysore region. They know that any support to bifurcation of the state would go against them. “They are worried that what happened to Congress in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh would happen to them, if the state is divided. Because of that they are staying away from the movement. It is highly unlikely that they will back it”, said a BJP state office bearer.

The activists have taken to social media to attack the BJP leaders for raking up the issue by circulating all kinds of memes. It has also forced Sriramulu type to drop the demand.

Hyderabad–Karnataka Trouble

The entire north Karnataka is not one unit and the two main regions Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka have nothing much in common. For centuries they were under different administrations and have a culture divide. There is no support to separate north Karnataka demand in Hyderabad – Karnataka with Five Lok Sabha and 40 Assembly seats.