Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said the government is mulling hosting the winter session of the state legislature in the border district of Belagavi in December, and more government offices will be shifted here, by then. “Already orders have been issued and instructions given to officials to start the functioning of the Sugar Directorate from here from October 3, also orders have been issued to shift some government offices here, while it is yet to be issued for few others, and we will take necessary action in this regard," Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters, he said, “there is a thinking to hold the legislature session here in December, it will be placed before the cabinet for approval, and all those offices that can be shifted here by December, will be shifted." Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and Legislative Council Chairman Basavaraj Horatti had urged the government to hold the monsoon session of the legislature in Belagavi, but it was held in state capital Bengaluru from September 13 to 24. If held in December as planned, this will be the first legislature session in Belagavi, after the BJP coming to power in 2019.
Sessions have not been held in Belagavi in the last two years due to floods and Covid-19 pandemic. Belagavi in north Karnataka, bordering Maharashtra, has been hosting legislature sessions once a year since 2006.
Karnataka has constructed the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of state secretariat and legislature in Bengaluru, for this purpose, and it is also seen as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. Maharashtra claims that Belagavi belongs to it.
Other than the session held once a year for about two weeks, the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha building remains mostly unutilised. It has been a long standing demand of the people of north Karnataka to shift some government offices to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, aimed at addressing regional imbalance, and for the benefit of citizens of the regions, who otherwise have to travel to Bengaluru.
In 2018, then Congress-JDS coalition government in the state had given in principle approval to shift some government departments, boards and commissions to the north Karnataka region to address the alleged discrimination. Last year, the then Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had directed authorities to identify state level government offices to be shifted to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi within a month and execute it.