The renaming of cities was a project mooted nine years ago by the state government, but for political reasons was put in the back-burner by the UPA government. The move to clear the proposal to rename will definitely raise the Modi government and BJP’s stock on the political scene. The NDA government waited till the Maharashtra assembly polls concluded to make the announcement as the decision would have resulted in the BJP losing votes at least in the villages bordering Karnataka.
According to sources chief minister Siddaramaiah spoke to Union home minister Rajnath Singh over telephone on Thursday on the issue.Things have moved fast after Siddaramaiah at a meeting of Kannada litterateurs and organizations on October 10 announced that Belgaum will be renamed as Belgavi.
Siddaramaiah made the announcement following demand by representatives of Kannada organizations and litterateurs at the meeting convened in Bangalore to discuss the stand to be taken on the petition filed by Maharashtra in the Supreme court seeking inclusion of 814 villages in Belgaum.
The renaming of Belgaum was triggered, when late Jnanpith recipient U R Ananthamurthy in a meeting to discuss celebrating Karnataka’s golden jubilee in December 2005 suggested to then CM N Dharam Singh to rename Bangalore as Bengaluru to mark the Suvarna celebrations. Even as Singh readily agreed, demands from other districts cropped up and it became a list of 12 cities.
Karnataka sent a list of the names proposed to be renamed to the Centre in 2006 for its clearance from departments such as Survey of India, science and technology, posts and telegraphs and railways. The proposals got stuck as Maharashtra government filed a counter appeal before the Centre stating that renaming Belgaum was being done with political motives to hurt the sentiments of Marathi people and cut of its historic roots with Marathi culture and language.
The UPA-I government cleared the names with a rider that Belgaum should be dropped as it did not want to antagonize Maharashtra on the Mahajan commission report (which went into the border disput between Karnataka-Maharashtra). The JD(S)-BJP government declined to drop and the issue went into cold storage as successive governments did not pursue the matter.
Bangalore—Bengaluru Belgaum—Belagavi. Mysore—Mysuru Mangalore-Mangaluru Gulbarga-Kalaburagi Hubli—Hubballi Shimoga-Shivamogga Chikmagalur—Chikkamagaluru Bellary—Ballari Bijapur—Vijapura or Vijayapura Hospet—Hosapete Tumkur—Tumakuru