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Don’t create another Belagavi in Ballari: Congress

Bifurcating Ballari district will lead to conflict among people, say Congress leaders

More than half-a-dozen Congress leaders on Wednesday strongly opposed the State government’s decision to bifurcate Ballari district claiming that the division will lead to conflict between Telugu-speaking and Kannada-speaking people.

Formation of the new Vijayanagara district from Ballari district would lead to the conflict in the latter. “We don’t want Ballari district becoming another Belagavi”, Congress Rajya Sabha member Syed Naseer Hussain said.

Noting frequent conflicts between Marathi- and Kannada-speaking people in the border town of Belagavi, Mr. Hussain said in the event of division of Ballari, Telugu-speaking people would likely dominate in all aspects of the district’s affairs and administration.

On November 18, 2020, the State Cabinet approved formation of Vijayanagara district from Ballari district following pressure from Forest and Environment Minister Anand Singh. Mr. Singh, who quit the Congress in 2019, demanded the division of the district.

However, the government has not yet issued a notification on bifurcation.

Speaking at a press conference here Mr. Husain, V.S. Ugrappa, former MP, L. Hanumanthaiah, MP, E. Tukaram, former Minister and MLA, and Santosh Lad, former Minister (all Congress) said the district was divided without any data, criteria and consultations. More than one lakh people have been opposing the split. “Why has the government not divided bigger districts such as Bengaluru Rural, Belagavi and Tumakuru”’, they asked.

Ballari district was the second largest revenue generator to the State. The creation of Vijayanagara district would lead to division of revenue and contribution from Vijayanagara would be less than that of Ballari. This would lead to disparities in the region. “Disunity weakens and deprives development”, they claimed.

“Let politics of development precede and power politics recede”, said the leaders united under the banner of Akhanda Ballari Zilla Horata Samiti and urged the government to repeal its decision.

Smaller districts such as Bagalkot and Koppal have not developed after division and division of the district was not the criteria for development. Historically, there were close relations between people of Ballari and Hosapete and the government should not play with the sentiments of the people, Mr. Ugrappa said.

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