Former Karnataka Water Resources Minister and Congress leader MB Patil has echoed displeasure, complaining that legislators from the northern region have been discriminated.
Patil’s statement came during the time when the Winter session in Karnataka's Belagavi district was underway. Evidently, the Congress leader’s statement has not gone down well with the coalition government’s promise of treating North Karnataka leaders on equal footing with other regions in the state.
“There are 41 MLAs and five ministers from North Karnataka whereas there are only 36 MLAs and 9 ministers from Dakshina Kannada. We must stop this discrimination. The chief minister, deputy chief minister and speakers are all from the same region. KPCC president, Congress leaders are from Dakshina Kannada. I urge our party and government to stop this discrimination and avoid this imbalance,” said MB Patil, former Karnataka Minister.
The North Karnataka Conundrum
The BJP has slammed Karnataka CM and Janata Dal(Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy multiple times for allegedly isolating and neglecting the region of North Karnataka. Some even accused Kumaraswamy of only taking up developmental projects only at Mandya, Ramanagara and Hassan districts only because they were JD(S)'s strongholds. Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti, a congregation of farmers and activists, even gave a call for a separate North Karnataka state. However, following a brief protest Bengaluru, the group agreed to drop the demand temporarily after Kumaraswamy assured to take up developmental projects in North Karnataka.
MB Patil’s comment on North Karnataka leaders being neglected has given more ammunition to the BJP to attack the present administration eve further.
"HD Deve Gowda and his son have been avoiding the Lingayats and they are only giving importance to the members from their own community. This is the reason why many Lingayat MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) have come out and spoken against the government. Be it Basavaraj Horatti or MB Patil, they are unhappy with the way the government is treating them. The writing is on the wall and sooner or later many more are going to fall out,” said Anwar Manappadi, BJP spokesperson.
The Congress leader’s statement comes days after the coordination committee announced the dates for cabinet expansion. MB Patil is also said to be a chief contender for a ministerial berth in the Karnataka cabinet. He was apparently left out of the cabinet this year because he had led the Lingayat agitation. Many community leaders and seers have demanded the Congress party and the government to grant a ministerial berth to Patil. After a lot of pressure, the Siddaramaiah-led coordination committee decided to expand the cabinet on December 22.