The former Minister and BJP MLA Umesh Katti has reiterated his demand to carve out a separate north Karnataka State with Belgaum as its capital.
Speaking to presspersons on the sidelines of a function here, Mr. Katti said that though time was not ripe for placing a demand for bifurcating the State, there was a need to create an independent state comprising the northern districts to ensure comprehensive development of the region.
In support of his demand, Mr. Katti said that when the linguistic state of Karnataka was formed in 1956, its population was 2.5 crore. Today, the population had increased to 6.5 crore. Moreover, the Congress Government in the State was giving priority only to the southern districts in matters of development. Statehood for north Karnataka was required to achieve progress of every region in the country. The nation would have nearly 50 States in the near future and the demand for bifurcating the State had merit. While several people have opposed his idea, many more had supported it, he said.
Belgaum district, which shares its border with three States, was confronted with several problems, including linguistic issues, following which the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha was constructed to identify it as the second secretariat. However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had disapproved of its stature stating that no State in the country could have two capitals.
To a query, Mr. Katti said that he had no objection to carving out Chikkodi as a separate district, though he favoured it to happen after the bifurcation of the State.
Meanwhile, BJP State president Pralhad Joshi said that there is no legal nor constitutional significance to Belgaum being the second capital of the State. Rather than indulging in a debate over the significance of Belgaum as a second capital, there was a need to focus on its development, he said.